Is Your Home Safe for Children?

Before you bring children into your home, you want to make sure it's a safe place. Here are some things to watch out for.

The basics

First, remember the basics. Make sure you have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Lock up all firearms where kids can't get to them. Put away matches and lighters. And secure your medications.

Babies and toddlers

Next, cover your electrical outlets to keep babies and toddlers safe. Block stairways with gates. Use doorknob covers to keep them from getting into rooms they shouldn't be in. Put locks on your toilet lids. And use window stops to keep windows from being opened enough for a child to fall out.

A child's view

Now, get down low and look at the things in your home from a child's viewpoint. Do you have any electrical cords or loose rugs that are tripping hazards? Do your window blinds have long cords that could choke a child? Are there knives or scissors within a child's reach? Could a child access dangerous chemicals? Take care of these issues.

Other dangers

Be aware of other dangers, too. Keep houseplants away from young kids, because some can be toxic if eaten. Secure bins or trunks that could trap a child. A bucket of water can be a drowning hazard. So empty buckets and store them upside down. And set your hot water heater at a temperature that prevents scalding. By taking time to make your home safe for children, you can prevent a serious accident.