Home Safety

Survey findings show that while 60 percent of American parents have made at least one safety improvement in the past month, they need guidance in prioritizing which actions are most important. The Home Safety Council encourages families to make safety a priority year-round. Use the Council’s top 10 tips below to increase the safety of your home.

Know the number: 1-800-222-1222

  • Install child safety locks on cabinets to safely store chemicals, cleaners, medicines, cosmetics and other toxic and/or caustic products.
  • Purchase cleaners, household chemicals, medications and other potentially hazardous products with child resistant caps and packaging.
  • Store cleaners and chemicals separate from food.
  • Post the Poison Control Hotline (1-800-222-1222) and other emergency numbers next to every phone.

Lower the water heater temperature

Survey findings show that nearly 80 percent of respondents did not know the safe temperature setting for their water heater. It takes only one second for a young child to be injured by 160 degree Fahrenheit liquid; and only five seconds at 140 degrees.

Check the setting of your water heater and make sure it is set no higher than 120 degrees F.

Brighten the lights

The State of Home Safety in America shows that slips and falls are the leading cause of home injury and related death. More than one-third of American families have not installed lighting at the top and bottom of stairs to prevent slips and falls.

Use bright lights at the top and bottom of stairs and make sure hallways and dark areas in the home are well-lit at night with nightlights.

Fire/Burn Prevention

  • Test faucet water at the tap and adjust the water heater to 120 degrees F.
  • Keep children at least three feet away from the stove when cooking.
  • Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home and in or near sleeping areas and test smoke alarms monthly.
  • Store matches, lighters, candles and other fire tools out of children's sight and reach, preferably in a locked cabinet.
  • Create a fire escape plan, and make sure to practice the plan at least twice each year.

Choking/Suffocation Prevention

  • Window blind cords can present a serious strangulation hazard. Move cribs and playpens away from windows. Tie up window cords out of a child’s reach.
  • Consider buying a small-parts tester to gauge whether objects present a choking hazard to young children.
  • Homes with young children should not have latex balloons, as the balloons or pieces of balloon material can become lodged in a child’s throat.
  • Pull out drawstrings in children’s outerwear and remove necklaces, purses, bicycle helmets and scarves before play or sleep.

Water Safety

  • Never leave a child unattended near standing water, even for a moment.
  • Use door knob covers to prevent young children from accessing bathrooms.
  • If your home has a pool, surround it on all sides with installed fencing and a locking, self-latching gate.
  • Turn over all buckets and store them up high where they cannot collect standing water or be reached by children.

Falls Prevention

  • Install baby gates at the tops and bottoms of stairs.
  • Locate cribs, beds, chairs and other furniture away from windows.
  • Install window locks or safety guards on above-ground windows. Be sure they have a quick-release mechanism in case of fire.

For more information, please visit the Home Safety Council at www.homesafetycouncil.org