Comprehensive Child and Baby Safety Checklist for the home. This checklist aims to cover all major areas of concern for safety in the home from Nursery furniture selection, Poison Control right through to wire management to prevent choking or strangulation.
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This Child Safety Checklist covers these areas around the home:
- Nursery : Crib safety, Where to position crib, Bedding, Changing Table, play pen and toy chest
- Bedroom safety
- Bathroom safety
- Kitchen safety
- Family Room
- Laundry Room
- Car and Garage
- Windows and Doors
- Baby sitters
- Fire safety: Smoke and CO alarms, fireplaces
- Winter CO preparedness
- Electrical safety
- Guns / Firearms and Hunting Equipment
- Wire/cord and cable Management safety
- Drowning hazards- Pools, ponds hot tubs.
- Poison control
- Additional Child Safety Resources
- Recommended Child Safety Shopping List
- Mattress should fit snugly in crib. Babies can get caught between the rails and mattress gaps of an ill fitted mattress. To avoid this buy the mattress and crib as a set.
- Select a crib without cut-out designs on the headboard or footboard.
- Crib slat gaps should not exceed 2 3/8th inches, which is no more than the width of a soda can. Check for broken, loose or missing crib slats to prevent the baby from slipping through and getting his head caught in the gaps.
- The crib corner posts should be no more than 1/16th inch in height to prevent an infants clothing from becoming caught and posing a strangulation risk.
- Crib bumpers should be fastened securely; a child could become stuck underneath one that isn’t. Crib bumpers need to be firm and secured with at least six ties.
- Lock the drop-side of the crib in the up position whenever you are not in the room.
- Secure cords and cables from blinds and drapes. Loose dangling strings are possible choking hazards.
- Where to position crib:
- Away from outlets, drapery, curtains, electrical cords, windows and light fixtures.
- Place night lights at least 3 feet away from the crib, curtains and bedding to prevent fire hazards.
- Heavy blankets, stuffed toys as well as soft bedding like pillows and duvets should not be in the crib as they pose a suffocation risk.
- Flame retardant sleepwear and blankets are recommended.
- Never use an electric blanket in a crib.
- Baby blankets should be tucked into the mattress and only be allowed to reach as far as the infant’s chest.
- Do not store baby oil or creams inside the crib as they are poisonous if the baby ingests it.
- Do not leave toys or any other apparatus that could give a child leverage to climb out of a crib, while child is sleeping.
- Once the baby is able to sit up on his own change the setting of the mattress to the lowest level to prevent your child from climbing out of his crib.
- Remove bumper and mobile once the baby is able to pull himself into a standing position.
- Remove mobiles and hanging toys when your child is able to reach up to grab them.
- Consider moving a child from a crib to a bed once he reaches 35 inches in height.
- When buying a changing table, make sure it has guard rails and straps to keep the baby in place while changing.
- Do not leave a side of a mesh play pen or carrycot down- as a baby can roll into it and suffocate.
- Place a lock on the toy chest lid to prevent the lid from injuring the baby’s neck if it were it to fall onto the child. Toy chests with ventilation slots are recommended.
- Check that all toys are age appropriate. Keep older children’s toys in a separate room or inaccessible to smaller children.
- Check regularly for recalls of baby toys and furniture. www.recalls.gov. Toys with magnets are best avoided.
- Toys being recalled with magnets are on the increase. If swallowed magnets can attract each other thought he intestinal walls and cause internal injuries which are hard to diagnose.
- Make sure that children wear the appropriate safety equipment when using their skateboards, roller blades or bikes. Helmets should have no cracks. Wrist guards, knee and elbow pads should also be in good working order.
- Be vigilant about checking that all toys are in good working order and not broken, or have seams that are coming apart thereby exposing pellets or small removable parts that are choking hazards. Small items can get lodged in a child’s throat, eyes, nose and ears. Even common household items need to be removed like coins, balloons, batteries, pins etc; are all possible choking hazards.
- Never let a baby sleep in your bed. You could accidentally roll over and suffocate an infant.
- Never leave a baby unattended in a bathtub; a baby can drown in one inch of water, even while using floatation devices.
- Always test the temperature of baby’s bathing water with both your wrist and elbow; multiple area testing is recommended because temperatures can feel different.
- Prevent scalding bath temperatures by setting your water heater to 120 F or below.
- Install safety latches on cabinets.
- Lock all medicines and vitamins and cosmetics high, out of the reach of children. Place a lock on your medicine cabinet.
- To prevent bathtub slips place a rubber mat or a bath sponge pad in the tub, and an anti-slip floor mat outside of the tub.
- Anti-slip floor mat
- To prevent cuts use a soft cover for the faucet spout.
- Install a toilet lock – this will prevent the child from possibly climbing in and drowning.
- Electrical and heated accessories should be stored away – i.e. curling irons and hair dryers.
- Install GFCI’s in bathroom outlets (ground fault circuit interrupters). These handy devices will turn off an appliance if it were ever to fall into water.
- Place all cleaning materials and chemicals out of lower cabinets and away from children’s reach.
- Stove- hot liquids should be kept away from the edge of countertops and tables. The baby could reach up and spill the contents on himself.
- Turn all pot and pan handles inwards towards the back of the stove.
- Install an anti-tipping device onto your stove.
- Knives and other sharp objects should be made to face downwards when placed into the dishwasher.
- Place a lock on the doors of the refrigerator and freezer. Place an appliance lock on the door of your oven.
- Do not leave a hot hob unattended.
- Store plastic bags in a locked cupboard. Babies can get trapped and suffocate in a plastic bag or sheeting.
- Place corner guard on your table and countertops.
- Do not let children eat alone even when strapped into a high chair. Ensure that the high chair has the appropriate straps so as to avoid the child slipping and getting his neck caught on the lower strap.
- Children should not be allowed to play with toasters, grills or any other appliances.
- Store chairs and stools away from the stove and counter tops which can be used to climb on thereby granting access to a hot stove.
- Keep potted plants out of reach as they can be poisonous. Soil also poses a choking hazard.
- Scout out and remove all small objects that may pose a choking hazard. Tip: use a toilet roll holder. If object fits inside it’s too small and should be put away. Coins, small toys, sweets are good examples of items to be put out of reach.
- Crawl on the floor level so that you can spot all dangers such as sharp edges and exposed outlets.
- All furniture should be anchored to the wall with a stud, no matter the height.
- Place corner guards on all tables.
- Tabletop glass inserts should be made from tempered glass.
- Televisions should be positioned as far back as possible on their stands.
- Do not leave children unattended in a play pen.
- Place furniture well away from windows as children can climb furniture to reach an open window.
- Never leave a hot or cold iron unattended, even if placed on an ironing board.
- Lock laundry detergents away.
- Do not allow access to either the washer or dryer children have a penchant for getting locked inside large appliances.
- Buckets pose a hazard as babies can use them to climb and can hurt themselves if they fall off. Buckets are also a drowning hazard.
- Child safety seat- select one that is for the appropriate age and size of your child.
- Children who are under 12 and 100 lbs or less should not sit in the front seat.
- Never leave a child alone or unattended in a car.
- Never place a safety seat in the front passenger side even if airbag is not activated. Put the child into the middle of the back seat.
- Do a peripheral check around your vehicle before backing up for the location of children and toys. Children can not be seen in mirrors.
- Ensure that your electric garage door comes equipped with an emergency reversing system.
- If you use your garage for storage of tools and chemicals, do not allow children to wander unattended into the garage. Place a lock on the garage for extra peace of mind.
- All power tools and chemicals like paint or gas should be kept out of reach of children.
- Keep ladders out of reach and never leave children unattended around them.
Windows and doors
- Do not leave children unattended in an unfinished attic. Children could step onto areas of the ceiling that are unfinished and fall through. Roof nails that often protrude from roof sheathing can cause puncture wounds to a child’s head.
- Install window guards to prevent children falling out. Do not rely on window screens alone. They are designed to keep insects out not children inside.
- Make sure that you have window locks and that they are in working order.
- Shorten curtain and blind cords so that they cannot be reached to hang from.
- Doors that have locks should have their key located close by or install a door handle that does not have a lock.
- Remove the plastic end caps on doorstops in an effort to reduce choking hazards. As an alternative replace your doorstop with an all in one piece doorstep designed to prevent choking.
- Make a point to learn CPR. It is a great asset to have.
- Railings and balustrades need to be securely installed with each balustrade or railing no more than 4 inches apart. You could use mesh guards for balustrade balconies.
- If possible, install carpeting on stairs to cushion falls.
- Keep toys and other tripping hazards off the stairs.
- Install stair guards on stair cases to prevent access to stairs.
- Make sure that you have placed guard around your radiators so that children cannot get behind them.
- Outdoors: large buckets should be kept upside down so that they will not collect rainwater thereby posing a drowning hazard.
- Make sure that your prospective baby sitter understands dangers to children.
- Ensure your babysitter knows how to perform CPR. Ask to see their CPR certificate or equivalent.
- Do not let children play with matches, fuel or lighters.
- Have in place a fire drill that you practice regularly as a family. Assign an adult to help young children. Make sure that young children are able to recognize and wake up at the sound of the alarm.
- Smoke alarms and CO detectors:
- Install carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarm outside each bedroom in your home.
- Make sure you test each smoke alarm once a month. Push the marked test button until you hear a loud sound emit. Replace the batteries at least once a year.
Winter CO preparedness:
- Use a safety screen to prevent children getting too close to the fire, or from touching the hot glass doors.
- Keep fireplace tools out of reach of children.
- Never leave a child unattended or alone with a fire or smoldering fireplace.
- Make sure that your fireplace or furnace is vented properly.
- When barbecuing outdoors, never leave children alone or unattended. Keep propane grilled locked away to prevent children playing with the knobs.
- Install Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms in your home. This will help to keep the family safe from CO poisoning.
- Have your chimney, fire place and woodstove inspected before every winter season begins.
- Do not use your oven to heat your home
- Do not leave your car engine running in an enclosed space like a garage.
- Do not use a charcoal grill indoors.
Place GFIC (Ground Fault Intercept Circuits) on all outlets.
Do not let children operate or plug in appliances.
Electrical outlets should have protective covers to prevent children from inserting their fingers or other items into them.
Electric cords plugged into outlets should have protective covers over them. Make sure cords are not frayed or damaged. Damaged cords pose an electrocution risk.
Cord covers are recommended for toddlers going through the teething stages. Chewing through cables is an extremely dangerous pastime.
Unplug appliances when they are not in use.
- Guns / Firearms and Hunting Equipment.
- Store firearms separately from ammunition. Make sure both locations are locked securely and out of reach of inquisitive children and teenagers.
- Fishing hooks, Fishing knives and hunting knives should all be stored out of reach of children.
- Firearms should have trigger locks or other locking devices designed to prevent children from being able to operate them.
Wire, cord and cable Management safety
- Shorten phone cords so that they cannot be used to hang from them.
- Shorten curtain cords so that they no longer pose a strangulation risk.
- Cut the loops of blind or drapery cords and use safety tassels as an alternative. Ensure that drapery cords which use tie-down devices are tightly fastened. Check that blinds with continuously looped cords are held with adequate tension.
- Do not hang toys or objects on elastic or cord around your child’s crib as they may become entangled in it and choke to death.
- Pacifier cords and ribbons should be removed as they are a strangulation risk.
* Click here for an additional article on Cable Safety Management for Children
Drowning hazards - Pools, ponds hot tubs.
- Never leave children unattended in a pool regardless of size or depth. A child could drown in water that is barely 2 inches in depth.
- Keep pool securely gated and locked.
- Keep pools and hot tubs covered with an appropriate protective cover.
- Install a pool water movement alarm.
- Make use of Coast Guard approved personal floatation device (PDF) for children while they are in the pool. Make sure there is a strap that goes between the legs for younger children- it is a good feature because it prevents the vest from coming off.
- Always keep rescue equipment and a phone poolside if possible.
- If your pool is above ground remove ladders and make sure steps are locked or removed and placed out of reach of children.
- The suction from a pool drain can be so strong that it is able to hold an adult under water. A child’s body can be sealed against the drain or hair can get into the drain. To avoid this install a Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS), this detects when a drain is blocked. The system will then automatically shut off the pool pump or interrupt the water circulation to prevent an entrapment
- Keep plants out of reach of children as some can be poisonous. Ensure that all plants kept in your home are not poisonous.
- Test your home for lead paint if it was built before 1978.
- Keep activated charcoal (it helps absorb some poisons)*
- Keep syrup of ipecac (used to induce vomiting)*
- Do not let children play on a treated lawn for at least 48 hours after application of pesticide or fertilizer.
- A frog-leak is an alarm that will sound if there is a leak in your garage, basement or chemical storage.
- Do not use poison based ant and rat traps.
* Check with your doctor or poison control center before administering.
Recommended Child Safety Shopping List:
Outlet covers and plugs
Corner table cushions and edge protectors
Toilet and Cabinet locks
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms
Appliance latches or locks
Bath tub Spout
Non-slip bath mats
Stove or hob guard and knob covers
Retractable cord winders for cables – telephone.
Wire loom or cord covers to protect exposed cords from curious babies.
Ground Force Circuit Interrupters (GFCI)
Gates for stairs and railings
Window blind cord shorteners
Emergency Number Contact List:
|Emergency Number Contact List:
| Fire Station:
| Poison Control:
Additional Child Safety Resources:
Home wire and cable management safety:
Web Site: http://cableorganizer.com
To Find your nearest poison control center: click here
1-800-222-1222 serves as a key medical information resource and helps reduce costly emergency room visits.
Address: 3201 New Mexico Ave, Suite 310 Washington, DC 20016
Administrative Line: 202-362-3867
Emergency Line: 1-800-222-1222
(If you email an inquiry, please provide your name, address and phone number.)
Web Site: www.poison.org
Fire Safety Resource:
USFA U.S Fire Administration for Kids
United States Fire Administration
16825 South Seton Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
Phone: (301) 447-1000
Web Site: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/kids/flash.shtm
New and used products, or if you are reusing nursery equipment check with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association or the USFA that they have not been recalled.
- Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association:
Web Site: www.jpma.org