Tips for Childproofing Your Home

To make sure that your home is a safe haven for your children - and you - learn to spot and eliminate hazards throughout the house. This childproofing checklist will show you how.

Safety measures to childproof your home for every room:

  • 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.

Childproofing hallways and staircases:

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

Child proof your 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.

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