Household Safety Checklist for Parents

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD

Kitchen

  • Are knives, forks, scissors, and other sharp tools in a drawer with a childproof latch?
  • Have you installed a dishwasher lock so kids can’t open it while it’s running and can’t reach breakable dishes, knives, and other dangerous objects?
  • Have you installed a stove lock and have knob protectors been placed on the stove knobs?
  • Does your oven range have an anti-tip bracket installed?
  • Are chairs and stepstools kept away from the stove?
  • When cooking, are all pot handles on the stove turned inward or placed on back burners where kids can’t reach them?
  • Are glass objects and appliances with sharp blades stored out of reach?
  • Is the garbage can behind a cabinet door with a childproof latch?
  • Are all appliances unplugged when not in use, with cords out of reach?
  • Are all vitamin or medicine bottles tightly closed and stored in a high cabinet far from reach?
  • Are matches and lighters stored in a locked cabinet?
  • Is the cabinet under the sink free of cleaning supplies, bug sprays, dishwasher detergent, and dishwashing liquids? And are these supplies out of the reach of children?
  • Are any bottles containing alcohol stored out of reach?
  • Are all plastic garbage bags and sandwich bags out of reach?
  • Are refrigerator magnets and other small objects out of reach?
  • Are childproof latches installed on all cabinet doors?
  • Is there a working fire extinguisher? Do family members know how to use it?
  • Does your child’s highchair have a safety belt with a strap between the legs?
  • Are tables free of tablecloths that could be grabbed?

Electrical

  • Are all unused outlets covered with safety plugs?
  • Are all major electrical appliances grounded?
  • Have cord holders been used to keep longer cords fastened against walls?
  • Have you checked for and removed other electrical fire hazards, such as overloaded electrical sockets and electrical wires running under carpets?
  • Are televisions, computers, and stereo equipment positioned against walls? Are they secured to the wall with brackets so they can’t tip forward?
  • Do you unplug extension cords when they are not in use?

Heating & Cooling Elements

  • Are all radiators and baseboard heaters covered with childproof screens if necessary?
  • Have gas fireplaces been secured with a valve cover or key?
  • Do all working fireplaces have a screen and other barriers in place when in use?
  • Have chimneys been cleaned recently?
  • Are all electric space heaters at least 3 feet (91 centimeters) from beds, curtains, or anything flammable?

Emergency Equipment & Numbers

  • Do you have a list of emergency phone numbers  on your cellphone and near each phone in your home?
  • Are there fire extinguishers installed on every floor and in the kitchen? Do you know how to use them?
  • Do you have an emergency ladder for the upper floors of your home?
  • Are there smoke detectors on each floor of your home?
  • Have smoke detectors been installed in the hallways between all bedrooms of your home?
  • Have you tested all smoke detectors within the last month?
  • Have you changed the batteries in the smoke detectors within the past 6 months?
  • If you cook with or heat your home with natural gas or have an attached garage, have you installed a carbon monoxide detector in your home?