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Being upright and increasingly mobile reveals a whole new world for your child to explore – including tabletops, shelves, drawers, and other spots previously out of reach. This is a good time to take another look around the house for potential hazards. Here's a checklist to make it easier, along with some evergreen safety reminders.
For more on child safety, see the complete guide to all our safety articles, FAQs, and other features, including details on childproofing around the house.
- Be sure your crib meets current federal safety standards. For example, get a new crib if yours has a drop side rail, which can cause accidental suffocation and strangulation.
- Don't leave anything in the crib, including toys and blankets, that could help your child climb out.
- More about crib safety.
- Consider moving your child from her crib to a bed when she's 35 inches tall or is able to pull herself over the crib rail with the crib mattress on its lowest setting.
- Use a detachable rail to prevent falls from the new bed. You may also want to put padding on the floor.
- As an alternative to a regular bed, place her crib mattress on the floor.
Clothing safety reminders
- Don't dress your child in any clothing that has drawstrings.
- Be sure sleepwear fits snugly or is made from flame-resistant fabric.
- Put nonslip mats in – and next to – the bathtub.
- Prevent scalds by turning down your water heater to keep the water temperature below 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place soft covers on the bathtub spout and knobs.
- Install a toilet seat lock (top-heavy young toddlers can fall in and drown).
- Keep blow-dryers and other hair appliances unplugged and out of reach.
- Cool curling or flat irons out of reach.
Bathing safety reminders
- Never, ever leave a child in the tub unsupervised, not even for a few seconds.
- More about safe bathing.
- Secure the oven and refrigerator with appliance latches.
- Install a stove guard and knob covers.
- Keep toasters and other small appliances unplugged and out of reach.
- Keep dangerous items – such as sharp utensils, cleaning products, and heavy or breakable items – out of reach or locked up. Put locks or latches on accessible cabinets and drawers that contain unsafe items.
- Close your dishwasher when it's not in use. Keep dishwashing detergent locked up or out of reach. Don't add it until you're ready to run the dishwasher. Be especially vigilant with single-use detergent packets, which are easier for children to grab and put in their mouth.
- Stow the trashcan in an inaccessible cupboard, or use one with a child-resistant cover.
- More on childproofing your kitchen.
Burn prevention tips
- Don't carry hot food or drinks and your child at the same time.
- Keep hot food and drinks away from edges of tables and counters.
- Don't hold your child while cooking.
- Cook on rear burners, and turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.
Laundry room safety
- Keep laundry detergents out of sight and reach – not on top of the washer or dryer. Store them on an inaccessible shelf or in a locked cabinet.
- Practice the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) safety tips if you're using single-use laundry detergent packets
or delay their use until your children are at least 6 years old. Single-use packets contain a more concentrated form of detergent than traditional laundry liquids or powders and pose a risk of severe injury to young children, who may be tempted to put the brightly colored packets in their mouth.
The AAP safety tips include never letting children handle the packets, keeping them in their original container unless you’re actively placing one in your machine, sealing the container after use, and storing the container in a locked cabinet.
- Use child locks on front-loading washers and dryers to prevent your child from opening them while they're in use or from ever crawling in.
Safety around the house
- Keep electronic equipment like DVRs, DVD players, game consoles, mobile devices, and stereos out of reach or locked up. Store remotes where prying fingers can't get to batteries.
Electrical outlets, cords, and appliances
- Put safety plugs or outlet covers over unused outlets.
- Hide electrical cords behind furniture, or use a hide-a-cord device.
- Use doorstops and door holders to protect fingers.
- Buy cordless window coverings if you can.
- Cut off or tie up cords on drapes and blinds, use cord shorteners or wind-ups, or replace a cord loop with a safety tassel.
- Mark sliding doors and other expanses of glass with colorful stickers.
- Don't depend on screens to prevent falls. Install window guards (though be sure they're easy for an adult to remove in case there's a fire).
- Install window stops so windows can't be opened more than 4 inches.
- Move furniture away from windows.
- Keep furniture free of clutter that could fall.
- Move protruding furniture that your child could trip on.
- Attach corner and edge guards to furniture that could become a hazard as your child walks, climbs, and grows taller.
- Secure furniture that can topple (such as bookcases or dressers) to the walls.
- Keep televisions on low, sturdy furniture, and push the set back as far as possible, or mount your flat-screen TV securely to the wall.
- Secure tall, unstable lamps behind furniture.
- If railings on landings or decks have openings wider than 3 1/2 inches, block them with safety netting, Plexiglas, or other material.
- Cover or block access to radiators and floor heaters.
- Install a fireplace grill and keep it in place when a fire is burning.
- Move gas fireplace keys out of reach.
- Stow logs, matches, and fireplace tools out of reach.
- Clean the chimney regularly.
Fire safety tips
- Check batteries in smoke detectors monthly, and replace batteries once a year.
- Check batteries in carbon monoxide detectors monthly, and replace batteries once a year.
- Plan a fire escape route and review it with your child.
- Clean the dryer lint trap after every use to prevent fires.
- Survey your house and move cleaning products, medicines, vitamins, toiletries, mothballs, and other potentially toxic items out of reach, or lock them up.
- Get rid of toxic houseplants, such as philodendron, or move them out of reach.
- Remember that your purse or a visitor's purse may hold medicines, toiletries, and other toxic substances. Move handbags out of reach.
- Program the number of the Poison Help hotline – (800) 222-1222 – into all phones, and post it near landlines at home.
- More about poison-proofing your home.
- Store guns – unloaded – in a locked and inaccessible spot.
- Store ammunition in a locked, inaccessible place separate from the guns. Hide the keys to the locked storage boxes.
- Use additional gun safety devices such as trigger locks.
- Teach your child that guns aren't toys. It's never too early to learn about the dangers of guns.
- Put fencing that's at least 4 feet high and has a self-closing, self-latching gate around a pool.
- Empty a wading pool and store it upright after each use.
- Don't leave your child unattended – even for a moment – around a pool.
Water safety reminders
- Don't leave even small amounts of water, cleaning solutions, or other liquids in buckets or other containers.
- More about water safety.