Throughout the house:

IMPORTANT!!! Have someone print out this list for you and take it home. Use it to childproof your home. When you have finished, talk with someone about what you saw and did. If you keep a journal, write about the changes you made in your home. Also write about your feelings when you saw some of the dangers in your home.

r Put emergency numbers on or near each telephone.

r Put at least one telephone where you could reach it if you were injured and couldn't stand.

r Lock up poisons and medicines. Put the Poison Control Center's toll-free telephone number near the telephone.

r Keep all plants out of children's reach. Some plants are very poisonous.

r Be sure there are no loose paint chips around the house.

r Be sure anything that is painted is lead-free. If you aren't sure about your home, call your local health department to find out where you can have your paint tested. Have your paint tested before sanding, stripping, or scraping.

r Keep pocketbooks with dangerous things like vitamins, birth control pills, cigarettes, matches and lighters, jewelry and calculators (they have batteries children could eat) out of children's reach.

r Don't let children play with plastic bags, plastic wrap, or unblown balloons — they may suffocate themselves. Tie knots in plastic bags before throwing them away so children can't get them over their heads.

r Keep small things like safety pins, hard candy, coins, marbles, camera batteries, buttons, toys with pieces smaller than 1 inch, and foods that could choke a child out of reach. One way to measure: if small pieces can pass through a cardboard tube from a paper towel or toilet paper roll, they are too small and may choke a child.

r Tighten knobs on cabinets or drawers so children can't pull them off and put them in their mouths.

r Put safety locks on drawers, cabinets, and doors so children can't get to stuff that may harm them.

r Keep sharp things, such as scissors, knives, needles, pins, and toys with sharp edges, out of children's reach. Don't leave razors in the bathtub.

r Keep sharp or heavy tools out of children's reach.

r Tie up cords to blinds or curtains so children can't get caught and strangled.

r Cover glass tables with heavy pads or remove them so children can't bang on them and break them.

r Cover sharp edges and table corners with padded strips or special guards.

r Put gates around fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, heaters, and furnaces. Never leave children alone near a wood stove or fireplace.

r Push in chairs so children don't climb.

r Fasten bookcases and dressers to the wall so children can't pull them over. Push in drawers so children can't climb in. Take away bookends or other heavy things so they don't fall on children.

r Block windows and be sure they have screens or window guards.

r Be sure all stairs, walls, railings, porches, and balconies are sturdy and in good repair.

r Take locks off doors so children can't lock themselves in.

r Keep high-traffic areas like hallways well lit and clear of stuff like furniture and boxes.

r Tack down small rugs. Never put one at the top of the stairs.

r Tack down loose tile, rugs, or runners so children don't trip and fall.

r Keep floors free of stuff so no one trips. Clean up spills right away to stop slipping.

Electrical safety:

r Cover unused electrical outlets with plastic "shock-stop" plugs.

r Put cover plates on all outlets and switches.

r Put all electrical and telephone cords out of where people walk.

r Don't run cords underneath furniture or rugs.

r Don't nail or staple wiring to walls or baseboards.

r Be sure electric cords are not frayed or cracked. Keep electric cords away from small children.

r Don't overload extension cords.

r Use Ground Fault Interrupters (GFI) power strips instead of extension cords.

r Use the right size and type light bulbs for lamps and fixtures.

r Keep bulbs in all light fixtures.

r Ground electrical space heaters properly and connect them directly to wall outlets.

r Always use the correct size fuses for your circuits.

Firearm safety:

r Lock guns in drawers or cabinets and keep keys to the lock out of children's reach.

r Store guns unloaded or taken apart.

r Lock ammunition away from guns.

r Gun users must take a firearm safety course.

r Use a trigger lock.

In the basement or garage:

r Lock or latch places where dangerous items are stored, like garages and basements.

r Keep paints and cleaning solvents tightly capped. Store them away from furnaces and water heaters. Store gasoline in an approved container, and never in the home! Don't use these liquids near hot things.

r Be sure power tools have guards and are properly grounded.

r Light work areas well.

r Be sure lights can be turned on without walking through a dark area.

In the kitchen:

r Take doors off unused refrigerators and freezers.

r Use a stepstool with a handrail to reach high shelves.

r Never wear loose clothes while cooking.

r Keep all cords away from the sink and stove.

r During cooking, turn pot handles toward the back of the stove. Keep hot liquids (coffee cups!) out of children's reach.

r Keep treats or other items children want away from the stove.

r Keep knives and sharp objects out of children's reach.

r Store cleaning things away from food, out of children's reach, or in cabinets with child safety latches or locks.

r Be sure cleaners are in child-resistant packages. Never store cleaners or bleach in food containers. Always put cleaning things away when you're done with them.

r Be sure high chair is safe, with a wide base and a tray that locks.

r Lighting over the stove, sink, and counters — especially where food is cut — should be even and direct.

In the bedroom:

r Never let anyone smoke in bed!

r Keep fire sources like ash trays, smoking materials, heaters, hot plates, teapots, etc., away from beds and bedding.

r Don't cover or fold electric blankets. "Tucking in" an electric blanket can cause heat buildup and start a fire.

r Use nightlights with covers so children don't burn themselves on hot bulbs.

r Keep lamps or light switches near each bed.

r Keep a telephone next to the bed.

In the nursery:

r Be sure crib slats are 2 3/8 inches (or less) apart.

r Fit the crib mattress snugly (no more than a two-finger space between mattress and railing).

r Keep the crib mattress at the lowest setting so children can't climb out and fall. When children reach 35 inches tall, it's time to move to a youth bed that is low to the floor. Babies should sleep on firm, flat mattresses. They should not sleep on soft things like beanbag cushions, fluffy blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, waterbeds, and comforters.

r Be sure the toy chest has a light lid, no lid, or a safe closing hinge, so that children can't be trapped inside, their fingers won't get hurt, and so they won't be hit on the back of the head by the lid.

r Put safety straps on changing tables and other high surfaces so babies won't fall. Never leave infants alone on a changing table, counter, bed, sofa, or chair.

r Keep cribs away from curtain cords or venetian blind cords so babies don't strangle.

On the stairs:
r Use gates at the top and bottom of stairs.

r Put sturdy handrails on both sides of the stairway from top to bottom. Bannister slats should be 2 3/8 inches (or less) apart so children don't get their heads caught.

r Be sure stairways are well lit. Put light switches at both the top and bottom of stairways.

r Steps should be even and the same size and height. Carpeting should not be loose.

r The edges of the steps should be easy to see.

r Never store anything on the stairway, even for a minute or two.

In the bathroom:

r Set the hot water heater temperature at 110-120° F or lower.

r Never use hair dryers, shavers, curling irons or radios near water, in sinks or tubs. Unplug them when they're not in use.

r Clearly mark all medicines and store them in the containers they came in.

r Be sure all medicine bottles have child-resistant caps.

r Keep medicines and vitamins out of children's reach. Check expiration dates and throw medicines away when they expire.

r Put a light switch near the bathroom door.

r Be sure an adult is always watching children when they're bathing.

r Put nonskid mats in bathtubs and showers.


Compiled from:

Home Safe Home: A Home Safety Checklist (NYS Department of Health)

"Make Your Home a Safe Place" (University of New England and Bingham Program)

The Safe, Self-Confident Child (New Readers Press)

What to Expect When You're Expecting (Eisenberg, Murkhoff, & Hathaway)

What to Expect the First Year (Eisenberg, Murkhoff, & Hathaway)