At St. Louis Children's Hospital we pursue knowing in everything we do.  We know that child proofing your home is an ongoing process as your child continues to grow and explore new things.

Injuries can happen in any room in your house. We've developed this Home Safety Checklist to make your home and surroundings as safe as possible for your children. By using this checklist to identify and correct potentially dangerous situations, you can reduce your child's chance of injury or trauma.

We also provide free home safety consultations at Safety Stop, at any of our four locations.

Please remember that direct supervision of your child is the best injury prevention measure.

Burns and Carbon Monoxide

  • Working smoke detectors should be on each floor, near all sleeping areas and in the basement
  • Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should be tested once a month and replaced according to the manufacturer's instructions (typically every 5 years for carbon monoxide detectors and every 10 years for smoke detectors)
  • Change smoke detector batteries when changing clocks for daylight savings
  • Furnace and fireplace flues should be checked every spring and fall
  • Put fire extinguishers in all areas where you work with open flames: kitchen, basement, garage and near fireplace
  • The temperature of your water heater should be set no higher than 120F degrees or lower to prevent scalds
  • Test water temperature before placing children in a bathtub
  • When cooking, keep handles on cookware turned inward, and use the back burners
  • Keep hot foods and liquids out of reach of curious young hands
  • Do not allow young children to retrieve food from the microwave
  • Do not let children play in the kitchen when cooking
  • Any space heaters are unobstructed
  • Do not use a space heater in a bedroom or nursery
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children
  • Do not leave candles unattended
  • Teach children what to do in case of a fire:
    • If they hear a smoke alarm, smell smoke or see flames they know to get low and go
    • Have an escape plan that has two different routes and a specified meeting place outside the house, and practice it
    • Stop, drop and roll if their body or clothing is on fire


  • Store household cleaners only in the original containers and out of reach of children
  • If solutions do need to be mixed and can't be stored in original container, we mark the new container clearly: POISONOUS
  • Make sure all plants are non-toxic
  • Keep all medications and vitamins out of reach of children
  • Keep local poison control number handy

Toys and Food

  • Learn first aid, CPR and emergency treatment for choking
  • Cut food into bite-sized pieces, horizontally and then vertically and do not serve grapes or hot dog pieces larger than 1/2 inch until they are over age 5
  • Do not give children popcorn or hard candy until they are over age 4
  • Do not give nuts to children under age 7
  • Test all hot food for temperature before eating and do not heat baby bottles in the microwave
  • Keep small objects that can cause choking, including toys with small parts and coins, away from children
  • Do not use latex balloons around young children
  • Choose toy chests carefully; heavy lids can fall and injure or trap a child 
  • Keep toys with small magnets or button batteries away from young children


  • Keep hair dryers, curling irons and other electric appliances away from sinks, bathtubs and toilets and out of reach of children
  • Cover electrical plugs that are less than 3 feet from the floor
  • Keep cords from electrical items, such as appliances and lamps, out of reach of children

Falls, Suffocation and Restricting Access

  • Install childproof latches on cabinets and basement doors
  • Place sharp objects, such as knives, out of reach of children
  • Use furniture straps to attach large pieces of furniture, such as dressers, to the wall to avoid tipping
  • Gate all stairwells with the proper type of gate, including using hardware-mounted gates at the top of a stairwell, rather than pressure-mounted gates
  • Use a rail net to cover the spindles on decks and balconies if they are too far apart
  • Place rubber mats or rubber strips in the bottom of the bathtub to prevent falls
  • Use stops on windows to maintain small openings
  • Area rugs and runners should be slip-proof
  • Avoid infant walkers with wheels
  • Keep cribs and beds of children away from windows
  • Tie up the strings of blinds to keep them out of reach of children
  • Cribs should have bars no more than 2-3/8 inches apart
  • Crib mattress should be firm and snug fitting
  • Use mesh playpens and portable cribs and keep the sides up and ensure they are assembled correctly
  • Do not leave young children unattended, especially if they are in a tub, near any water or on the changing table
  • Keep bathroom doors closed at all times
  • Keep all plastic bags out of reach of children


  • If there is a gun in your home, store it unloaded and locked away
  • Store ammunition in a separate location from guns
  • Use trigger locks/gun locks
  • Teach children what to do when they see a gun: do not touch and tell and adult

Garage and Yard

  • Keep power tools, yard tools and lawn mowers out of reach of young children
  • Keep children inside when grass is being cut
  • Automatic garage doors should have a safety mechanism to automatically re-open when striking an obstruction

Remember to keep emergency numbers by the telephone:

  • Fire/Emergency
  • Police
  • Poison Control: 800-222-1222 (National)
  • 911

We recommend making your home safety inventory a family event-because your children are never too young to learn how to stay safe.  If your children are young, it is a good idea to get on your hands and knees and crawl through each room so you can see potential dangers at your child's level.


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