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Child Proof your Home

Child Proof your Home:
  • Install child-resistant covers on all electrical outlets.
  • Keep dangerous chemicals out of children's reach.
  • For strings and ribbons, follow the six-inch rule.
  • Always use a safety belt on your baby when she is sitting in a bouncy seat or a swing.
  • Shorten curtain and blind cords.
  • Place furniture well away from windows.
  • Use corner bumpers on furniture and fireplace-hearth edges.
  • Place houseplants out of children's reach.
  • Know the names of all plants in case a child eats one of them.
  • Keep cigarettes, matches, and lighters out of children's reach.
  • Safeguard heating and gas systems against accidents.
  • Be sure that furnaces, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, space heaters, and gas appliances are vented properly.
  • Place screened barriers around fireplaces, radiators, and portable space heaters.
  • Install carbon-monoxide (CO) alarms outside bedrooms to help prevent CO poisoning.
  • Install smoke alarms outside each bedroom and on every level of your home.
  • Remove the plastic end caps on doorstops or replace the stops with a one-piece design to prevent choking.
  • Consider placing plastic guards along the hinge side of frequently used interior doors to prevent the doors from pinching fingers.
  • Safety-proof windows and fire exits.
  • Make a fire evacuation plan and practice fire escape routes at least twice a year.
  • Keep firearms and ammunition safely locked away.
  • Secure unsteady furnishings.
  • Avoid household water hazards.
  • Test homes built before 1978 for lead paint.
  • Learn first aid and CPR.

Hallways and staircases:

  • Avoid dark hallways and rugs that slip.
  • Safety-proof stairs.
  • If possible, install carpeting on stairways to protect from falls.

Kids' rooms:

  • Position your child's crib away from all drapery, electrical cords, and windows.
  • Make sure the crib meets national safety standards.
  • Make sure the mattress fits snugly.
  • Be sure the crib sheet fits snugly.
  • If you use a crib bumper, make sure it's firm (not fluffy) and secured tightly with at least six ties.
  • Remove mobiles and other hanging toys from the crib as soon as your child can reach up and touch them.
  • Place infants under one year on their backs to sleep.
  • Never use an electric blanket in the bed or crib of a small child or infant.
  • Place night-lights at least three feet away from the crib, bedding, and draperies to prevent fires.
  • Always use a safety belt on your infant when you have her on a changing table, and never leave her unattended.
  • Provide padding for falls.
  • Check age labels for appropriate toys.
  • Be vigilant about choking hazards.
  • Use side railings for children just getting used to "big kid" beds.
  • If bedrooms are on second or third stories, be sure to have a fire-escape ladder in each room.


  • Put a lock on the medicine cabinet.
  • To prevent poisoning, lock away all vitamins and medicines.
  • Install toilet-lid locks to prevent drowning.
  • Lower the household water temperature.
  • Always test the water first before bathing a child.
  • Make sure bathtubs and showers aren't slippery.
  • Use electrical appliances carefully.
  • Install ground-fault circuit interrupters on outlets near sinks and bathtubs.
  • Never leave a young child alone in the bathroom.


  • Keep knives, cleaning supplies, and plastic bags out of children's reach.
  • To avoid fires and burns, never leave cooking food unattended.
  • If stove knobs are easily accessible to children, use protective covers to prevent kids from turning them.
  • Teach your kids how to respond to fire.
  • When they're not in use, unplug electrical appliances.
  • Replace any frayed cords and wires.
  • Keep chairs and step stools away from counters and the stove.
  • Keep activated charcoal (helps absorb some poisons) and syrup of ipecac (used to induce vomiting) on hand.
  • Beware of foods that children can choke on.


  • Store tools, garden, and lawn-care equipment and supplies in a locked closet or shed.
  • Don't use a power mower to cut the lawn when young children are around.
  • Don't allow children to play on a treated lawn for at least 48 hours following an application of a fertilizer or a pesticide.
  • Know the types of trees on the property in the event children ingest berries, leaves, or other plant life.
  • If you have a swimming pool, install a fence (with an automatic childproof gate) that separates the house from the pool.
  • When you barbecue outdoors, never leave kids unattended around the grill.
  • Store propane grills where children cannot reach the knobs.

Other resources for childproofing your home:

  • To find outlet covers, cord shorteners, cabinet latches, and toilet-lid locks, check with your local hardware store.
  • For consumer-product and home-safety information, contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • For details about child and home safety, contact the National Safe Kids Campaign.
  • For information about child lead poisoning, read the "Lead Hazard Information" pamphlet from the department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • For information about safe drinking water, contact the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water.