Safety Checklist for Every Home With Small Children

February 20th 2019

All parents’ first concern is the safety of their children. The dangers vary and, unfortunately, lurk everywhere, either inside or outside of the house. The house always gives a sense of security, but many accidents can occur within the walls of this seemingly safe environment. Furniture, some devices and house tools can cause serious accidents, so constant caution is necessary. Therefore, it needs to be properly safe to prevent minor or major injuries to a child.

Use the safety checklist below to make sure that every room of your family home is safe for your children.

Entire House

  • Carbon Monoxide detectors installation in all rooms.
  • Smoke detectors installation in all rooms. You have to remember that you have to change the batteries twice a year, they have to be checked once a month and they have to be replaced after ten years or otherwise they will not work properly.
  • Room heaters shouldn’t be hot when touched, they should turn off automatically and they shouldn’t be near to fabric or anything that can easily catch fire.
  • Make sure that hot water from the faucets can’t go higher than 49º C.  If it’s difficult for you to regulate, you can use an anti-scald device.
  • You can use child proof door knob covers.
  • The windows shouldn’t open more than 10cm or they should be secured by installing window guards. (Remember that window screens cannot withstand a toddler’s weight so they can’t prevent falls.)
  • Any furniture that a child can climb up should be fixed to the wall and away from any windows that open.
  • Doors leading to rooms that children shouldn’t be allowed to go in alone (balcony, basement staircases) should be firmly closed or locked.
  • Store all the household cleaners and chemicals out of the reach of children and away from food. If it’s possible, this hazardous product should be locked up.
  • Pet food and even pet water should be kept away from children.
  • Dangerous objects including anything sharp, heavy or even anything that breaks should also be out of reach.
  • Curtains and blind cords should be secured high on the wall.
  • Any furniture that a child can climb up should be fixed to the wall and away from any windows that open.
  • All rugs should have non-slip grippers to keep them in place.
  • Toys should be put back to their place after finish using them to prevent toddlers from tripping on them.
  • If you have older children in the house teach them to be careful when opening or closing doors or cupboards because there is a possibility a toddler’s finger might get stuck there.
  • Any poisonous house plants should be removed from the house.
  • Remember to have the poison control centre’s number on your mobile phone.

Kitchen Safety

The most severe and life-threatening injuries happen in the kitchen thus certain actions have to be taken to be kept as safe as possible.

  • When cleaning or cooking remember to keep the baby in the highchair behind a safety gate.
  • Dishwasher and oven doors should always be closed.
  • If you have plastic bags in the kitchen remember to tie them tightly in a knot before putting them away where children can’t see them or reach them.
  • Hot food and drinks shouldn’t be placed near the edges of the kitchen counters or the tables.
  • Don’t forget to use the back burners for cooking and always keep the handles turned in from the edge.
  • If there are any stove knobs that the children can reach, they should be removed between cooking times, particularly in a gas stove.
  • Appliances or gadgets should be well tacked-in at the back of the counters together with their cords.
  • Sharp or pointy objects like knives and scissors should be kept away from the reach of children, in a locked drawer or cupboard.
  • Non-slip placemats should be used rather than a tablecloth.
  • A fire extinguisher it’s always a good idea to be kept in the kitchen and should be regularly checked.
  • The garbage should always be kept in an inaccessible cupboard.

Bathroom Safety

Another room which can be responsible for many serious injuries is the bathroom.

  • “Hook and Eye” latch can be put on the bathroom door so that it would make it impossible for a baby or even an older child to open it.
  • It is very important to lock away any medications, personal products, cleaning products and utensils like a hairdryer. You can store them up in cabinet preferably locked.
  • Wires and electrical cords should be out of the reach of children
  • Ensure that the toiled lid is always tightly closed so that your baby or your toddler can’t open it.

Electricity Risks and Safety

  • Electrical outlet safety covers should be installed on all electrical outlets that are not in use.
  • Vacant safety covers should be put away.
  • Only single-receptable extension cords should be used and the empty sockets should be covered with safety covers.
  • The wires laying on the floor should be shortened and shielded by electrical cord covers, so that they won’t end up in the mouth of a teething baby or in the hands of a curious toddler.
  • The electrical cords that you are using should be the ones given by the manufacturer of the household appliances or devices.

Proper use of barriers and safety gates

Barriers and safety gates are the best solution to keep a baby and a toddler away from hazardous rooms. They can also prevent them from falling down the stairs or keeping them away from anything hot.

  • Safety gates should have on them the manufacturer’s name, the model name/ number and the manufacture date. They should also include an installation manual together with a warning letter.  Make sure they meet the recent safety requirements.
  • For staircases you can install safety gates made of wood or metal which can be secured firmly on the wall. Note that pressure mounted gates are safe as room dividers but they are not safe at the top of the staircase.
  • Pressure mounted gates can be used for dividing the rooms from safe to unsafe. They do not involve drilling so they are easy to use and they come in a variety of styles and colours.
  • Fire-safe barriers can be used at a safe distance from room heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces/ gas fireplaces. They should be positioned in a way so that the lowest point of the top edge is at least 56cm from the floor.

Baby’s/ Toddler’s Room

  • The crib mattress should be at its lowest level and the bed should have bed rails for the first years of a child’s life. There is no “right” age for removing the bed rails because every child has a different sleep pattern. For example, if a child always sleeps at the edge of the bed or move around a lot then they are definitely not ready for a bed with no bed rails.
  • The bed rails should always be raised and locked whenever the baby is in the bed.
  • Nightlights or baby monitors should be kept away from the bed so the baby won’t be able to reach them.
  • You should always check for any loose fittings in the bed. Under no circumstances there should be anything loose or it could lead to suffocation.
  • Any pillows, quilts, bumper pads, even stuffed toys and comforters should be removed from the bed.
  • Mobiles or any bed gyms should always be taken away once the baby goes to sleep.
  • Any large toys could help a baby climb out of the bed and fall on the floor therefore they should be removed.
  • Remember that containers with anything sharp like safety pins or baby products like creams should be out of the reach of children.
  • Keep in mind that any blind cords , hangings, furniture or pictures should be kept well away from the baby’s bed to ensure that the baby won’t be able to grab them.
  • The diaper pail lid should always be kept locked or in a safe cupboard.

Living Room/ Family Room

  • Heavy and bulky furniture or objects like television should be well-anchored to the wall.
  • Exercise equipment should be kept out of the reach of children as they are usually heavy. Also equipment like the elastic bands are dangerous for a baby or a toddler and could lead to suffocation.
  • Reclining chairs could be tricky for young children. They have a space between the seat and the foot rest when the chair is raised which it could be very dangerous especially for children who like to climb. Therefore, it should always be kept closed.
  • Make certain that trash cans have a secure lid.

By following this simple checklist you could minimize many common childhood injuries and save yourself and more importantly your children from a lot of visits to the emergencies or the paediatrician.