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Safety and Injuries > Home Safety

Home Safety

How do I make my home a safer place for my child?

General
 
  • Babysitters always need to know how to contact you.
  • A 5 year old should learn how and when (and when not) to use 911.  They need to know their name, address and problem.  They must stay on the line until the operator hangs up. Practice on a toy phone.
  • At school age, begin to talk about tobacco, alcohol and drugs in a way your child can understand.  Don't wait until it's too late.
  • Once children are potty trained, teach them that body parts covered by a swimsuit are private.  No one is allowed to see those parts unless Mom or Dad says it is ok.
  • Car seat safety: We recommend the resources on The Car Seat Lady.
Check out the following website to learn of sex offenders in your area.

Choking and Ingestions
 
  • Keep medications, cleaning products and other poisons locked away from children.
  • Laundry pods are increasingly recognized as dangerous. Keep them out of reach of children.
  • Monitor infants when other children or pets are around.
  • Keep the poison control number (1-800-222-1222) stored in all your phones.
  • If an object can fit through a toilet paper tube, it is too small for infants who might choke on it.  Have older siblings decorate a toilet paper tube and have the important job of testing toys.  This teaches them about choking risks and empowers them, which often makes them more likely to keep small objects away from infants.
  • Get on your hands and knees before your child can crawl to check for what is at their eye level.  Remove all objects that would fit into their mouth.  Don’t forget door stoppers with removable parts.
  • Cover outlets with safety plugs if not in use.

Burns, Fire and Carbon Monoxide
 
  • Change batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors at least twice per year.  Write the date the battery is changed on the detector.  Put a reminder on your calendar for the next change.
  • Change the smoke detector itself every 5 years.  Write the date it is installed on the detector.
  • Keep the hot water heater set at less than 120°F. to limit burns.
  • Never heat bottles in the microwave.
  • Never hold a baby/child while cooking, drinking hot liquids or smoking.
  • Keep pot handles and cords to appliances away from the edge of the stove or counter (don’t let baby pull the rice cooker down!).
  • Do not smoke!  If you must smoke, do so only outdoors so the smoke dust does not settle in carpets, on furniture or your clothing. Vaping is not considered a safe alternative.

Falls and Other Trauma
 
  • Make sure babies and toddlers can't reach strings/cords.  Even a mobile can strangle a baby if they can grab it.
  • Never leave babies alone with pets or young children.  Teach children not to pet unfamiliar animals.
  • Keep knives and other sharp objects out of reach.
  • Lock any guns in the home.  Lock ammunition separately.  We have free gun locks for anyone who asks.
  • Never use a walker with wheels.  Exersaucers are okay.
  • Never leave baby / young child in bath alone, even for a second.
  • Babies can fall even before rolling.  Never leave a baby unattended on a bed or table.
  • Affix your furniture and appliances to the wall so toddlers do not pull them over on top of themselves. Check out the information on Charlie's House.
  • Close doors to rooms that are off limits, such as the bathroom.
  • Keep the toilet lid closed at all times to prevent toddlers from climbing in!

Sleep
 
  • Do not use bumper pads in a crib.
  • Babies should sleep on a firm mattress with well fitted sheet and on their back (or side) until they can roll over on their own.
  • Car seats, infant seats, and items such as "RockNPlay" are not safe sleep surfaces.
  • No blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals until 1 year.
  • Do not let an infant overheat during sleep.  A cool room is safer than an overly-warm room.

Infections
 
  • Wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer often, especially during cold and flu season.
  • Everyone between 6 months and 18 years is now encouraged to be immunized against influenza each year.
  • Cigarette smoke exposure increases the risk of illness, including ear infections, sinus infections, bronchitis, and asthma.  Please do not allow anyone to smoke in your home or car… even when the child is not present.  The smoke dust remains in the carpet and upholstery long after the cigarette is gone.

Do not mix cleaning products - the chemical reaction can cause hazardous air conditions in the home.

Find health information quickly in our parent toolkit.

Illnesses & Symptoms