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For Parents: Making Your Home Safe


Take a careful look at your home to identify the hazards. Then take an active role in making your home safer. And check for safety hazards at the homes your child visits. Keep a list of emergency numbers near each telephone in the house. Learning basic first aid and CPR can also help.


A stairway, an open window, or a slick floor can lead to a fall.

  • Use baby gates on stairs and latches on windows.

  • Use secure straps in highchairs and on changing tables.

  • Don’t let your child climb on chairs, dressers, shelves, and step stools.

  • Limit the use of throw rugs around the house. If a rug slips when you step on it, remove it.

  • Keep floors free of clutter.

  • Install night lights throughout the home to aid visibility in low light.


An object as small as 1 inch across can block a child’s airway. And household hazards can cause a child to stop breathing.

  • Take a first aid class to learn how to help your child if he or she starts choking.

  • Cut food into pieces that are easy to eat.

  • Put away buttons, coins, and other small items

  • Make sure that window blinds have breakaway hardware on their pull cords. If not, cut off the pull cords.


Children don’t understand that fire can be deadly.

  • Check smoke alarm batteries monthly. Change batteries every 6 months.

  • Practice an escape route from your home.

  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach.

  • Cover electrical outlets and sockets when they’re not in use.

  • Don’t leave the stove or oven on while unattended.

  • Never leave lit candles unattended.

  • Use space heaters with care. Make sure the space heater is UL listed. Never put items on top of a space heater. Follow the manufacturer’s rules about their use.

  • Have solid fuel heating appliances (such as wood stoves) inspected and cleaned at least once a year.


Cleaners, solvents, medicine, vitamins, and even some house plants are poisonous.

  • Lock cleaners and other poisons out of reach.

  • Ask at your local library or nursery for a list of poisonous houseplants. Keep these out of reach.

  • Make sure all your medications have childproof lids. If you have over-the-counter medications without childproof lids, ask your pharmacist for childproof lids.

If Your Child Is Poisoned

Call Poison Control 800-222-1222 before you do anything. Have the substance that led to the poisoning nearby when you call. You can also call your local poison control center. Get the number from the front of your phone book and post it by your phone.

Natural Disasters

Be prepared in case of a flood, tornado, hurricane, or earthquake.

  • Find out if your community and school have emergency plans. Go over them with your family members.

  • Discuss a family plan.

  • Put together a basic disaster kit.

  • Learn more about disaster preparedness at or call 1-800-BE-READY.

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