Child Safety at Home

Everyday things around your house can be a danger for your child.  Use this home safety checklist (PDF, 658 KB) to make your home safe for your child.

Learn how to keep your child safe at home.

Children can easily get burned or scalded because their skin is very thin and sensitive.

Here are some things that can burn or scald your child:

  • Flames from matches, lighters and fires
  • Hot bath and tap water
  • Hot food and drinks
  • A bottle that is warmed in the microwave
  • Oven doors, stove burners and hot appliances like kettles
  • Hot pots and pans
  • Fireplaces  
  • Electrical cords and outlets

What you can do to prevent burns and scalds

Here are some things you can do to prevent burns and scalds:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside each sleeping area.  Test alarms once a month and replace batteries every year.
  • Lower the temperature of your hot water heater to 49 C (120 F).  If you rent, ask your landlord to do it.
  • Before putting your child in the bathtub:
    • run cold water first and last to cool the faucet
    • test bath water with your wrist or elbow
  • Put your child in a safe place while you are cooking, eating or drinking anything hot.
  • Put your hot drinks in a travel mug with a tight lid.
  • Always check the temperature of your child’s food and drinks before giving it to her.
  • Always cook on the back burners of a stove with pot handles turned in.
  • Keep your child away from fireplaces. Place a barrier around your fireplace. The glass barrier on a gas fireplace can cause serious burns if touched by a child.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of sight and reach of your child.
  • Avoid using candles.  Keep them out of reach from children and pets.
  • Cover electrical outlets with safety plugs. 

Choking

Your child can choke on small objects around the house like:

  • coins
  • batteries
  • bottle caps
  • small toys
  • pieces from toys
  • buttons
  • balloons
  • pieces from pacifiers or bottle nipples
  • small pieces of food

How to prevent choking

Anything that can pass through a cardboard toilet paper roll can cause your child to choke.

Here are some things you can do to prevent your child from choking:

  • Regularly check your entire home for small objects and toys that can cause your child to choke.
  • Always hold your baby while feeding her. Do not prop up a bottle to feed her.
  • Do not put any type of food in your baby’s bottle.
  • Always watch your child while she is eating.
  • Cut her food into small pieces. Spread sticky foods thinly.
  • Replace pacifiers every two months even if there is no damage.
  • Keep batteries and magnets away from children.  Make sure batteries in toys are properly secured.
  • Take a CPR course. It can save your child’s life.                       

Threats to breathing

Breathing emergencies are a leading cause of death for Canadian children. Children can easily suffocate, strangle or become trapped by items around your home.

Common items that you use in your home can be a threat to your child’s breathing such as:

  • Blind and curtain cords
  • Cords and drawstrings on clothing
  • Plastic bags and packaging
  • Soft bedding like blankets, pillows and bumper pads
  • Portable bed rails
  • Small spaces like washers, dryers and toy boxes

How to prevent suffocation, strangulation and entrapment

Here are some tips to prevent suffocation, strangulation and entrapment:

  • Cut blind cords short and keep them out of reach.
  • Place cribs, beds, high chairs and playpens away from windows.
  • Remove cords and drawstrings from your child’s clothing.
  • Do not put necklaces or jewellery around a young child’s neck.
  • Keep plastic bags and packaging materials out of reach.
  • Keep your child’s crib free from soft bedding and toys.
  • Do not use bed rails for children under two years old.  They can get trapped between the mattress and the bed rail.
  • Use a toy box without a lid. 
  • Put your baby to sleep in a crib, cradle or bassinet that meets current Canadian Safety Standards.

Any area of water can be dangerous to a child. A child can drown in as little as 2.5 cm (1 inch) of water.

Babies and children can drown in:

  • buckets
  • ditches
  • ponds and fountains
  • pools and portable-pools
  • hot tubs
  • sinks
  • toilets
  • lakes, rivers, oceans
  • splash pads

How to prevent drowning

Here are some things you can do to prevent your child from drowning:

  • Keep one hand on your baby during bath time. Never leave your child alone in the bathtub.
  • Make sure you have all bath supplies with you before you give your child a bath. If you have to get something, take your child with you.
  • Do not allow older children to watch your child during bath time or around water.
  • Keep bathroom doors and toilet seats locked with safety devices.
  • Always have an adult supervise children swimming or playing near water.
  • Make sure doors and gates to all areas with water are locked.
  • Surround pools with a four-sided fence that is at least 1.2 metres (4 feet) high and has a self-closing and self-latching gate.
  • Children under five years old and weak swimmers should wear a life jacket or Personal Floatation Device while swimming or playing near water.
  • Always empty buckets and portable pools after each use. 

Falls are the number one cause of injury for Hamilton children under the age of six.

Your child can fall off:

  • a bed or crib
  • a chair
  • stairs 
  • a change table
  • playground equipment
  • a trampoline
  • Furniture and appliances like bookshelves, dressers or TV’s can fall on your child if they are not secured.

How to prevent falls

Here are some tips to prevent falls:

  • Fasten the safety straps when you use products like carriers or strollers.
  • Do not use baby walkers; they are banned in Canada.
  • Keep bouncy chairs, baby seats and car seats on the floor.
  • Install wall-mounted safety gates at the top and bottom of all stairs. Pressure-mounted gates can fall over.
  • Always keep one hand on your child while she is on a high surface like a couch, bed or change table.
  • Move your child’s crib to the lowest position.
  • Secure heavy furniture and appliances to the wall with safety devices.
  • Teach your child how to use stairs safely -- walk slowly and hold on to railings.
  • Move your child to a toddler bed when she can climb out of her crib or is taller than 90 cm (35 inches). 
  • Do not allow children under six years old to sleep or play on the top level of a bunk bed.
  • Make sure all furniture and appliances are placed away from windows and stable or secured to the wall with safety devices.
  • Install window guards and stops on all screens and windows. Keep them locked.
  • Take down safety gates when your child can climb over them.
  • Stand beside children under five years old while playing on a playground.
  • Keep young children off of playground equipment that is higher than 1.5 metres (5 feet).
  • Keep children under six years old off of trampolines.

Pets can be jealous and unpredictable around new babies. Children are most often bit by an animal that that they know.

How to keep your child safe around pets

Here are some tips to keep your child safe around pets:

  • Never leave your child alone with a pet or any other animal.
  • Do not allow a pet to sleep with your child.
  • Keep your pet’s food, toys, litter box and cage out of reach from your child.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about introducing your pet to your child.
  • Teach your child how to treat animals nicely by using a gentle touch.
  • Keep your pet’s nails trimmed.
  • Teach your child to leave pets alone when they are eating or sleeping.

 

Read about pet safety.

Children are at risk for poisoning because they are curious and like to explore their environments. Young children do not understand that some products may be dangerous.  Medication is the number one cause of poisoning in children.

Common items that you use in your home can be poisonous to your child such as:

  • cleaning products
  • make-up
  • medications
  • vitamins
  • plants
  • alcoholic drinks
  • cigarettes

How to prevent poisoning

Here are some tips to prevent poisoning in your home:

  • Store cleaners, cosmetics, car supplies and pesticides in locked cabinets.
  • Keep medications and vitamins locked up, out of reach and in the original container. 
  • Make sure purses and bags with medications in them are out of reach.
  • Read and follow medication labels carefully before giving your child medicine.
  • Do not call medicine candy.
  • Label plants in your home and keep them out of reach from children.
  • Teach your child not to put plants, seeds, nuts or berries in their mouth.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector outside all sleeping areas.
  • Keep important phone numbers by your phone. Call the Ontario Poison Centre at 1-800-268-9017 or Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 right away if you think your child might be poisoned. 

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