Time flies when you have family keeping you busy, which means your home may or may not be the safest it can be for your child. It’s easy to forget or put off the things you don’t see every day, but it’s important to check, double-check, update, maintain and replace things around your home to create a safe environment for your child — and the rest of the family.
Quick checklist to ensure your home is safe for your child
Smoke detectors: Check and run tests on all smoke detectors to make sure they are in working order and replace batteries if needed.
Carbon monoxide detectors: Check and run tests on all carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are in perfect working order and replace batteries if needed.
Air conditioning unit: Check the outside perimeter of your air conditioning unit to keep it free of debris. Call a service professional to service or check the inside of your unit, if needed.
Tip: It’s best to schedule a cleaning every six months or so to keep your ducts as clean as possible.
Air ducts: Quality air inside the home is key to ensure optimum health for your children. Running the heat during the winter months and the air during the summer months can cause a build-up of moisture, dust and sometimes mold.
Clean air filters are essential for good air quality. A dirty filter can reduce the quality of your indoor air and cause your heater or air conditioner to work harder. Air filters harbor dust, dirt, mold and other organic compounds that can trigger allergies or other common colds in children.
Children hang, pull and slam baby gates. After time, your installation hardware can come loose, be pulled out of the wall or become damaged. To keep your child safe at the top or bottom of the stairs — or out of danger’s way — double check your baby gates every few months.
Baby proofing locks and items:
Over time, the adhesive and strength of screws or other baby-proofing items can wear down, become loose or break. To ensure your baby locks and baby-proofing items are keeping your baby safe, check them periodically to make sure they are working and not posing as an additional hazard to your child.
Toy batteries: With drool, sippy cups or after time, water and/or moisture can get into a battery compartment of a battery-operated toy. Check the batteries to make sure they aren’t corroding and leaking.
Toy bins and boxes: Large toy bins can be hazardous to young children because when toys break, the small pieces fall to the bottom of the bin. Those broken or sharp pieces then become a choking hazard to young children.
Water heater dial: Burns are one of the common hazards for children in the home. Most water burns can be prevented by double checking the water temperature on your home water heater. If your water heater is exposed in the garage, it’s not hard for it to get bumped or turned up by a child. SafeKids.org recommends setting your water heater below 120 degrees F.
Setting reminders to keep your child as safe as possible
While most things can be checked in passing or with day-to-day chores — visually inspecting a water heater temperature and checking toy bins while cleaning up — most home safety items don’t give you a warning until it’s too late… And some don’t give you a warning at all.
Set a reminder every three months
- Air filters: Replace or clean
- Baby-proofing items: Check screws and adhesives
- Baby gates: Check mounting and locks
Set a reminder every six months
- Smoke detector: Change batteries
- Carbon monoxide detectors: Change batteries
- Air vents: Check or have cleaned
More child safety tips and information for parents
Surprising dangers to children in your home
Child safety devices: Tips for childproofing your home
7 Newborn dangers in your home