How to Create A Safe Home for Your Children

The eyes of a professional inspector see and locate issues in your home that untrained homeowners don’t see. A professional inspector can isolate any problems and give you sound, unbiased information to keep your home safe.

Guest contributor : Ray Carrier, Take Care Termite
Find on Inspect.Com : Take Care Termite & Pest Control
Business Website : Take Care Termite & Pest Control

Take Care Termite and Pest control was founded in 1993 and serves the central valley of northern California, the Tri-Valley and surrounding areas. Services provided are termite inspections, Quality repairs, pest control, and bird control.

Protect Your Precious Family in Your New Home

A home is often a place for a family to expand with more room for parents and children. With all the excitement and planning as you move into your home, don’t forget safety to keep your loved ones healthy and happy.

As you live in your home, you’ll want to keep it safe for your children. Preventive caution will help you avoid the many accidents and disasters that can happen at home.

More than a third of child injuries and death happen at home according to Learning how to keep your home safe will keep your children as safe as you can.

No Home is Childproof

Children explore and go to unexpected places. Prevention is the best way to minimize child accidents in your home.

Common causes of home-injury deaths are fire and burns, suffocation, drowning, choking, falls, poisoning, and guns. advises that most household accidents happen in areas with:

  • water: in the bathroom, kitchen, swimming pools, or hot tubs
  • heat or flames: in the kitchen or at a barbecue grill
  • toxic substances: under the kitchen sink, in the medicine cabinet, in the garage or garden shed, or even in a purse or other place where medicines are stored
  • the potential for a fall: on stairs, slippery floors, from high windows, or from tipping furniture
  • choking hazards: including an unsafe sleep environment, foods that pose a choking risk (like grapes or hot dogs), button batteries, and items inside and outside the home that could entrap or strangle a child

You can make these places safer, but the most important safeguard is to watch young kids at all times. Even if your home is childproofed, it only takes an instant for babies and toddlers to fall, run over to a hot stove, or put the wrong thing in their mouths. Your watchfulness is your child’s best defense.

Go through your home room by room to check for child safety measures you can implement.


Although drowning is a cause of death in children under two, there are many other hazards that lurk in the bathroom. This list will help you minimize risk for kids.

  • Set the thermostat on the hot water heater set below 120°F (49°C)? This minimizes the chance for scalding tender skin.
  • Store razor blades, nail scissors, and other sharp tools in a locked cabinet.
  • Install childproof latches on all drawers and cabinets.
  • Install outlets with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) (which may protect against electrocution if an electrical appliance gets wet). (If you live in an older home that may not be “up to code,” have an electrician inspect your circuit breaker panel.)
  • Always leave toilets closed. Install a toilet-lid lock on the toilet.
  • Keep all hair dryers, curling irons, and electric razors and any other electrical gadgets unplugged when not in use.
  • Install non-skid strips on the floors of showers and bathtubs.
  • Use non-slip pads under rugs to hold them securely to the floor.
  • Store all prescription and nonprescription medicines, cosmetics, and cleaners in a locked cabinet. Use childproof caps on all medicines.
  • Store bottles of mouthwash, perfumes, hair dyes, hair sprays, nail polishes, and nail polish removers in a locked cabinet.


Adult and children’s bedrooms create different safety issues.

Child’s Bedroom

  • Make sure your baby’s changing table has a safety belt.
  • Family heirlooms are treasures but make sure all painted cribs, bassinets, and high chairs made after 1978. Prior to this, paint was lead-based.
  • Make sure crib slats are less than 2-3/8 inches (6 centimeters) apart.
  • Make sure the crib’s headboard and footboard are free of large cut-outs.
  • Check that all of the hardware on the crib or child’s bed is secure.
  • Check that the crib mattress is firm, flat and fits snugly in the crib.
  • Verify that the crib does not have a drop side.
  • Free the crib free of soft pillows, stuffed animals, bumper pads, and soft bedding.
  • Clip off all strings or ribbons from hanging mobiles and crib toys.
  • Secure window blind and curtain cords with clothespins or specially designed cord clip. Keep them well out of reach and away from crib or toddler bed.
  • Place all electric cords (including baby monitor cords) at least 3 feet from the crib or bed.
  • Secure dressers to the wall or floor with drawers closed.
  • Use non-locking toy chests. Make sure the lids on toy chests or toy storage containers have a lid support to keep them from slamming shut.
  • Place a window guard on any window that isn’t an emergency exit.
  • Keep nightlights away from any fabric, like bedspreads or curtains.
  • Use flame-retardant sleepwear.
  • Place a smoke alarm outside the bedroom.
  • Remove all drawstrings from your child’s clothing.

Adult Bedroom

  • Keep all medicine bottles, loose pills, coins, scissors, and any other small or sharp objects out of reach.
  • Tie window blind and curtain cords with clothespins or specially designed cord clips.

If you own firearms:

  • Store firearms in a securely locked case out of kids’ reach.
  • All firearms should be stored unloaded and in the un-cocked position.
  • Store ammunition in a separate place and in a securely locked container out of kids’ reach
  • Are keys kept where kids can’t find them?


The kitchen is the heart of activity for many families. With an array appliances and sharp objects, adults need to keep aware of potential hazards.

  • Store knives, forks, scissors, and other sharp tools in a drawer with a childproof latch.
  • Installed a dishwasher lock so kids can’t open it while it’s running and can’t reach breakable dishes, knives, and other dangerous objects.
  • Install a stove lock and place knob protectors on the stove knobs.
  • Install an anti-tip bracket on your oven range. 
  • Keep chairs and step stools away from the stove.
  • When cooking, turn all pot handles on the stove inward or place pots on back burners where kids can’t reach them.
  • Store glass objects and appliances with sharp blades out of reach.
  • Keep the garbage can behind a cabinet door with a childproof latch.
  • Unplug all appliances when not in use, with cords out of reach.
  • Keep all vitamin or medicine bottles tightly closed and stored in a high cabinet far from reach.
  • Store matches and lighters in a locked cabinet.
  • Keep the cabinet under the sink free of cleaning supplies, bug sprays, dishwasher detergent, and dishwashing liquids. Keep these supplies out of the reach of children.
  • Store bottles containing alcohol out of reach.
  • Keep all plastic garbage bags and sandwich bags out of reach.
  • Keep refrigerator magnets and other small objects out of reach.
  • Install childproof latches on all cabinet doors.
  • Keep a working fire extinguisher and instruct family members know how to use it.
  • Your child’s highchair needs a safety belt with a strap between the legs.
  • Keep tables free of tablecloths that could be grabbed.

Laundry and Garage

The laundry room and garage are often unattended by adults but are places of exploration for children. Safety precautions in these areas are critical.

  • Keep all bleaches, detergents, and other cleaning products in their original containers and stored in a locked cabinet.
  • Store buckets used for cleaning out of reach.
  • Keep laundry detergent pods out of sight and stored in a locked cabinet.
  • Keep the doors of the washer and dryer always closed.
  • Store all tools, products, and supplies used for auto maintenance, pool care, gardening, and lawn work safely away from children in a locked area.
  • Maintain recycling containers storing glass and metal out of reach.
  • Cover garbage cans.
  • Secure laundry chutes with childproof locks.

Walls & Floors

  • Inspect walls in good condition, with no peeling or cracking paint (which could contain lead in older homes).
  • Check for nails in walls that should be removed. 
  • Securely hang mirrors and frames.
  • Secure rugs to floors or fit with anti-slip pads underneath.
  • Keep the floor free of clutter including toys. 
  • Have kids wear slippers when on a wooden or slippery floor especially for homes with wooden stairways.

Doors & Windows

  • Install a finger-pinch guard on doors.
  • Remove the rubber tips from all door stops and/ or install one-piece door stops.
  • Place doorknob covers on doors so that your toddlers won’t be able to leave the house.
  • Place decorative markers on all glass doors so they won’t be mistaken for open doors.
  • Install childproof locks on all sliding doors. 
  • Place all furniture away from windows.
  • Install safety bars or window guards on upper-story windows.


  • Secure bookshelves and other furniture to the wall or floor so they can’t be tipped over.
  • Place protective padding on corners of coffee tables, furniture, and countertops that have sharp edges.
  • Check for safety hinges on toy chests and other chests to prevent them from closing.
  • Check that all used or hand-me-down baby equipment has not been recalled.
  • Securely mount flat-screen TVs on the wall. Place older, heavy TVs on a low, stable piece of furniture.
  • Create stops on all removable drawers to prevent them from falling out.
  • Place safety locks on drawers and cabinets.
  • Place beds and cribs away from windows.


  • Place hardware-mounted safety gates at the top and bottom of every stairway.
  • Ensure the gates meet current safety standards.
  • Keep stairways clear of tripping hazards, such as loose carpeting or to
  • Place a guard on bannisters and railings if your child can fit through the rails.
  • Make sure the railings and bannisters secure.
  • Lock the door to the basement steps.
  • Have lighting for each stairway.

Heating & Cooling Elements

  • Cover all radiators and baseboard heaters with childproof screens.
  • Secure gas fireplaces with a valve cover or key.
  • Have a screen or other barrier in front of all working fireplaces.
  • Clean chimneys regularly. 
  • Place all electric space heaters at least 3 feet (91 centimeters) from beds, curtains, or anything flammable.

Electrical in Every Room

  • Cover all unused outlets with safety plugs.
  • Make sure all major electrical appliances are grounded.
  • Use cord holders to keep longer cords fastened against walls.
  • Checked for and remove other electrical fire hazards, such as overloaded electrical sockets and electrical wires running under carpets.
  • Position televisions, computers, and stereo equipment against walls and secure to the wall with brackets to prevent tipping over. 
  • Unplug extension cords when they are not in use.

Outdoor Yard

  • Light all walkways and outdoor stairways.
  • Keep all walkways clear of toys, objects, or anything blocking a clear path.
  • Check all sidewalks and outdoor stairways for concrete cracks or missing pieces. Repair to avoid trips and fall
  • Assure all swing sets parts are free from rust, splinters, and sharp edges.
  • Securely fasten all parts on swing sets or other outdoor equipment. 
  • Maintain a soft surface beneath the swing set and play equipment (cushioned with material such as sand, mulch, wood chips, or approved rubber surfacing mats) to absorb the shock of a fall.
  • Put away all outdoor toys in a secure, dry place when not in use.
  • Install climb-proof fencing at least 5 feet (1.5 meters) high on all sides of the pool. 
  • Install a self-closing gate with a childproof lock on the pool fencing.
  • Install a door alarm If the pool can be accessed through a door to the house.
  • Remove all ladder from an above-ground pool when not in use.

General Precautions


  • Remove any poisonous houseplants.
  • Create a no-smoking rule in your home to protect kids from secondhand smoke.
  • Conduct tests for lead, radon, asbestos, mercury, mold, and carbon monoxide.
  • If guns are in the home, keep them in a locked cabinet with the key hidden and the ammunition locked separately.
  • Supervise your child around pets, especially dogs.

Pest Awareness

Raymond Carrier, of Take Care Termite and Pest Control advises special care with pests around your home.

  • Rodent snap traps should be in tamper resistant boxes. The force of some rat traps can break a finger.
  • Keep and eye out for red imported fire ants. If their mounds are disturbed they will attack and repeatedly bite and if the child is small enough or sensitive to the bites it could be fatal. 
  • Keep lawns and weeds mowed down. Overgrown vegetation can provide good harbor for ticks that can carry Lyme disease.
  • Keep wasps nests off of structures where curious children may attempt to knock them down. Also look for ground burrowing bees and hornets. If the child is allergic stings could send them into anaphylaxis shock.
  • Don’t allow water to puddle even the smallest amount can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes that could carry West Nile virus or many other diseases. 
  • Remove dead trees or branches which could fall over or off in strong winds or be a harborage site for Carpenter bees.
    Be Prepared if An Accident Happens 

However much you prepare your home, accidents will still happen. So it’s important to be prepared to respond quickly to any emergency. 

Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the age-appropriate Heimlich maneuver.

  1. Keep these numbers near the phone (for yourself and caregivers):
    • poison-control number: 1-800-222-1222
    • doctor’s number
    • parents’ work and cell phone numbers
    • neighbor’s or nearby relative’s number (if you need someone to watch other kids in case of an emergency)
  2. Make a first-aid kit and keep emergency instructions inside.
  3. Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Change the batteries regularly.

Precaution Saves Lives

Take a cue from home inspectors and systematically go through your home from top to bottom. Check each room. If you find any missing precautions, remedy them immediately. 

Especially as children grow, they won’t always be under-eye even though they are at home. Taking preventive steps makes your home safe for your children as they explore and play. 

Help children understand the importance of safety in the home.  Share this video from made especially for kids to build safety awareness:


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