Generate PDF

Indoor Safety


Indoor Water Safety

Adult supervision is the most important factor in keeping kids safe around standing water. In the home, this includes bathtubs, buckets and toilets. Not only should an adult supervise children around standing water, but an adult should always be within arm’s reach of the child. Older children should not be allowed to supervise younger children.

Remember, drowning can occur in less than 1 inch of water!

More Indoor Safety Tips

  • Bath seats for babies are not considered to be safety devices. Never use a bath seat with suction cups.
  • After using a bathtub, drain the water immediately.
  • Keep electrical appliances away from sinks and tubs and out of reach of children.
  • Set your water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
  • Keep children out of bathrooms by keeping the doors shut and using doorknob covers.
  • Keep toilet lids shut and use toilet seat locks.
  • Empty buckets and turn them upside down after use. Store them out of reach of children.

Fall Prevention

As always, adult supervision is the best way to keep children safe. However, young children can fall easily as they learn to walk and maintain balance.

A few ways to prevent falls:

  • Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
  • Install window guards on upstairs windows.
  • Avoid using walkers.
  • Strap children into high chairs and changing tables.
  • Make sure stairs are well-lit.
  • Avoid using small rugs or tape them to the floor.
  • Use nightlights throughout the house.
  • Clean up spills as soon as they happen.

Shopping carts are more dangerous than they look. They can easily be tipped over and cause head and neck injuries to children. Here are some tips for keeping kids safe around shopping carts:

  • Avoid putting your child in a shopping cart. Small children are safer in a stroller or wagon, and older children are safer walking (as long as they stay close to their guardian).
  • If you do place your child in a shopping cart, use the safety belt or harness and never leave him or her alone in the cart.
  • Do not let a child ride on the outside of a shopping cart or stand up inside the cart.
  • Never place an infant carrier on top of a shopping cart.

Furniture can also be dangerous. Sharp edges and corners, unstable furniture and heavy items on top of furniture can lead to injuries to young children. Here’s what you can do to prevent injuries from furniture:

  • Avoid using glass tops on tables.
  • Use table edge cushions to pad sharp corners and edges on furniture.
  • Put drawer latches on all drawers so kids cannot climb on them.
  • Anti-tip straps and brackets can help prevent furniture such as bookcases from tipping over.
  • Avoid placing heavy objects on table tops, or use safety locking straps to keep them from falling off.
  • Keep toys off of table tops so kids aren’t tempted to climb on furniture to reach them.
  • Install child safety latches on refrigerator and oven doors.

Poison Prevention

Many common household items can be poisonous if ingested. Even such seemingly harmless items as cosmetics can be dangerous to children. Be sure you know the number for Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) and have it posted near all your phones so you can call if you have even the slightest hunch that your child has ingested something poisonous.

Here are a few ways you can protect your children from poisonous household items:

  • Keep all medicines, medical supplies and cosmetics out of reach of children and locked in a cabinet. Don’t keep medicines in purses or pockets.
  • Put child-safety caps on all chemicals, medicines and cleaning products.
  • Keep dangerous products in the package they came in and keep the labels on. Store them away from food and beverages.

Carbon monoxide (CO) can also be a household danger. CO is a deadly gas that you cannot see or smell. Having CO detectors near each bedroom in your home can alert you to a dangerous rise in the gas. Have heaters, stoves and fireplaces checked annually by a professional.

If you have a garage or workshop, these areas should be childproofed against poisons as well. Fuels, car fluids, pesticides, and lawn and garden products are poisonous. Keep all such products out of children’s reach and clean up spills immediately.

Poison Control 1-800-222-1222

Safe Sleeping

Safe sleeping for children includes avoiding potential risks for SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and avoiding choking hazards.

SIDS is the sudden, unexplained death of a child younger than 1 year old. Although the cause is unknown, experts have identified several possible risk factors.

The risk factors include:

  • smoking, drinking or drug use during pregnancy
  • poor prenatal care
  • prematurity or low birth-weight
  • mothers younger than 20
  • smoke exposure following birth
  • overheating due to excessive sleepwear and bedding
  • stomach sleeping

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following for reducing the risk of SIDS:

  • Place your baby on a firm mattress, not a soft surface like a pillow, waterbed or sheepskin, to sleep. Do not put blankets, comforters, stuffed toys or pillows near the baby.
  • Keep your baby’s room at a temperature that feels comfortable for an adult in a short-sleeve shirt to keep the baby from getting too warm during sleep.
  • Do not smoke, drink or do drugs while pregnant and do not expose your baby to second-hand smoke.
  • Receive early and regular prenatal care.
  • Get regular well-baby checkups.
  • Breastfeed if possible.
  • Place your baby on his or her back to sleep, unless instructed otherwise by your pediatrician.
  • Put your baby to sleep with a pacifier during the first year of life.

Suffocation and strangulation are other hazards to avoid to help your child sleep safely. Some tips include:

  • Find out if your crib has been recalled – visit
  • Make sure the sheet and mattress in your baby’s crib fit tightly.
  • Do not hang pictures, quilts or decorations containing ribbon or string on or over a crib.
  • Window blind cords are a strangulation hazard – move cribs and playpens away from windows and tie up window cords out of children’s reach.
  • Pull out drawstrings on children’s clothing and remove necklaces, scarves, etc. from your child before he or she plays or goes to sleep.
  • Don’t let kids younger than 6 sleep on the top bunk of a bunk bed. Make sure the space between the guardrail and bed frame, as well as the head and foot boards, is less than 3.5 inches.

Fire Prevention

Fire hazards are everywhere in the typical household. But there are many things you can do to prevent fires:

  • Make sure your electrical appliances do not have loose or frayed cords or plugs.
  • Avoid overloading outlets with plugs for the TV, computer, printer, etc.
  • Do not overuse extension cords.
  • Use the proper wattage of bulbs in your light fixtures.
  • Have GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interrupters) and/or AFCIs (arc-fault circuit interrupters) in your home. These prevent shock and fire by shutting off faulty circuits.

Potential household fire hazards include:

  • improperly installing electrical devices
  • running electrical wires under rugs
  • improper use of space heaters
  • wearing loose-fitting clothing around a hot stove
  • burning material other than wood in a fireplace

Cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of fire deaths in the U.S. and Canada, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. If you smoke, be careful around upholstered furniture, never smoke in bed and be sure cigarettes are completely out before you throw them away.

Other tips:

  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
  • Store flammable materials outside of your home.
  • Keep candles away from curtains and furniture, and extinguish them before you go to bed.
  • Water real Christmas trees daily.

And of course, it is extremely important to have smoke alarms throughout your home. Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home and in each bedroom. Replace the batteries every year and test smoke alarms monthly. It’s also a good idea to have a fire extinguisher on every floor and in the kitchen. The one in the kitchen should be an all-purpose extinguisher that can be used on grease and electrical fires. You should also keep an extinguisher in the basement, garage and workshop.

If you are ever in doubt about whether to use a fire extinguisher on a fire, don’t try it. Leave the house immediately and call the fire department.

Choking Prevention

Food, toys and other household items can cause children to choke. Children younger than 3 are especially vulnerable to choking because they have a tendency to put things in their mouths and swallow food whole.

When serving hot dogs, for example, it is a good idea to cut them lengthwise and into pieces, and remove the skin. Fully cook all vegetables that you serve to young children, and cut grapes into quarters. Other foods that can be a choking hazard for small children include raw carrots, nuts, raisins, hard or gummy candy, spoonfuls of peanut butter, chunks of meat or cheese, and popcorn.

Batteries, beads and coins, as well as small toy parts and deflated balloons, can be dangerous to children. Look around your home, including on the floors, under furniture and behind curtains, to make sure no choking hazards exist.

Be sure to give your children age-appropriate toys and carefully inspect the packaging. Also, keep your baby’s crib free of toys and other objects that might lead to choking.

It’s also a good idea to be prepared for choking emergencies by taking a CPR course and learning the Heimlich maneuver. It is also important to make sure any caregivers or babysitters know these techniques.


Pet Bite Prevention

Dogs and other animals can bite or scratch when they are disturbed or frightened, or if they feel threatened. Animals can inflict serious wounds through biting and scratching, but they can also pass along infections such as rabies, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ringworm and toxoplasmosis. Birds, reptiles and other pets can also pass along infections.

Make sure to vaccinate your pets as soon as you adopt them, and keep up with routine vaccinations.

Some simple tips can help you and your children avoid pet bites:

  • Spay or neuter your pet. Dogs that have not been spayed or neutered are more likely to bite.
  • Socialize your pet so it is comfortable around friends, neighbors and kids.
  • Never play "attack" games with your pet.
  • Keep a watchful eye on your pet and have it securely restrained when meeting new people or when visitors are at your home.
  • Do not disturb an animal that is eating, sleeping or caring for its babies.
  • Do not pet an animal, even your own, without knowing it is aware you are there.
  • If you are attacked by a dog, curl up into a ball and lie as still as possible. Protect your head and neck with your arms and hands.

Return to Safety Tips for Children