Authors: Morgan L. Barnett, MPH, Radon Education Program Specialist, and Pamela R. Turner, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Extension Housing Specialist


    Nearly 2.3 million children are accidentally injured every year and more than 2,500 are killed, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since one of the biggest threats to children is an injury occurring at home, it is important to take preventative steps to childproof your home. While this may seem like a daunting task at first, this checklist includes basic tips, broken down by room, to help make your home safer for the whole family.

    Kitchen and Laundry Room

    • Install a stove guard and knob covers to prevent burns.
    • Store household cleaning and laundry products in locked cabinets or on high shelves out of reach of children.
    • Medications and vitamins should be kept in a locked cabinet or out of reach of children. Special care needs to be taken to return potentially dangerous items to the same location any time they are taken down.
    • Keep knives, breakables, heavy pots, and sharp objects in a secured area or out of children's reach.
    • Place Mr. Yuk stickers on all poisonous substances, even if they are in locked cabinets or placed up high. Teach children what the stickers mean.


    • Store medications and cleaning products in closed, locked cabinets.
    • Prevent scalding from hot water by setting the water heater at 120 degrees F.
    • Put nonslip mats in and next to bathtubs and showers to prevent falls.


    • Install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors near sleeping areas and on each level of your home.
    • Install working smoke detectors near the bedrooms and on every level of your home. Check the batteries monthly and replace them once a year.

    Living Room & Family Room

    • If you have a fireplace, replace fireplace grill with screen and store logs, matches, and any other tools out of reach.
    • Keep televisions on low, sturdy furniture, and push the set as far back as possible. Mount flat screen TVs to the wall if possible.
    • Add edge and corner guards to any furniture that could be hazardous as children begin to walk, climb, and grow.
    • Move furniture away from windows.
    • Use brackets, braces or wall straps to secure unstable or top-heavy furniture to the wall.


    • Pesticides, automotive products, refinishing products, and paint should all be in locked cabinets or out of reach.
    • Keep sharp tools in a locked cabinet.

    Tips for Entire House

    • Put outlet covers or safety plugs over any unused outlets and block them with furniture if possible.
    • Cut any looped window blind cords that could be a suffocation hazard. Use safety tassels and cord stops instead.
    • Place the number for the Poison Control Center Help hotline (800-222-1222) in several locations around your home. In case of an emergency, this can save you valuable time.
    • Remember that your purse or someone else's purse may have medications or toiletries that can poison a child. Be mindful of where those items are placed.


    Status and Revision History
    Published on Oct 31, 2013
    Published with Full Review on Jul 14, 2016
    Published with Minor Revisions on Jun 12, 2017

    Pamela Turner Associate Professor & Extension Housing Specialist, Family & Consumer Sciences
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