Making Your Home Safe for Children

Bumps and bruises are part of growing up. You can prevent many serious accidents by making your home safe for children.

Drowning

After car crashes, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death among children. Hundreds of children drown each year in bathtubs, toilet bowls, buckets, pools, and hot tubs.

Fires

Smoke and fires kill hundreds of children each year. Children aged 5 years and younger are at the greatest risk.

You can prevent common causes of home fires:

Electrical Shock

Household appliances can hurt children. In the bathroom, keep all electrical appliances (hair dryer, curling iron, space heater, radio) out of your child's reach. These items can cause serious electrical shock or death if they are plugged in and fall into water.

Place plastic caps on all unused electrical outlets, including those on the end of extension cords. They will stop your child from sticking anything into the outlet or sucking on an exposed extension cord.

Burns

Hot liquids such as drinks, soups, and tap water are the most common causes of burns to young children.

Choking

Choking is the fourth leading cause of accidental death in children aged 3 years and younger.

Falls

Falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits for children of all ages.

Poisoning

Young children will put anything in their mouths, even if it tastes bad. Medicines, make-up, cleaning agents, garden products, and plants cause most home poisonings. Children aged 5 years and younger are most at risk.

Note: If you think your child has been poisoned, call the National Poison Center Hotline at 1-800-222-1222. (This number can also be used by TTY/TDD callers.)

Lead Poisoning

Even low levels of lead can cause learning disabilities and behavioral problems.

Gun Safety

Kids and guns are a deadly combination. More than 90 percent of child deaths caused by guns happen at home. If you have a gun, consider getting rid of it or store it unloaded in a locked cabinet. Store the shells separately. Teach your child that if he or she ever finds a gun, to leave it alone and immediately let an adult know about it.


Clinical review by Emily Chao, DO
Group Health
Reviewed 03/01/2014
Learn CPR

Your local fire department, YMCA, or Red Cross chapter may offer classes in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on children. Make sure your child's caregivers are also trained in CPR.