• Home Safety

    Injuries in the home are one of the top reasons kids under age 3 visit the emergency room, and nearly 70% of the children who die from unintentional injuries at home are 4 years old and under. Young kids have the highest risk of being injured at home because that's where they spend most of their time. Supervision is the best way to prevent injuries, in the home and out, but even the most watchful parents can't keep kids completely out of harm's way every second of the day.

    Here are some simple ways to help prevent injuries in your own home.
    • Safety gates should be used to keep children away from all stairs and out of rooms with hazards.
    • Bookshelves, flat screen televisions, and top-heavy furniture should be anchored to the wall. Young children can be injured when furniture tips over onto them.
    • Place bumpers over sharp edges on tables and other furniture.
    • Windows should have window guards to keep a child from falling out.
    • A window should be no more than four inches open from bottom if a child is in the room.
    • Never place furniture that children can climb on like beds and couches in front of windows.
    • Never leave your child unattended on a bed, countertop or changing table.
    • Smoke detectors save lives. Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas.
    • Test the battery of your smoke alarm twice a year. Change the battery once a year.
    • Set up an escape plan that your family can use in the event of a fire. It is a good idea to have multiple escape routes. Practice the escape plans with your children.
    • Store matches and lighters in locked cabinets where kids can’t get to them.
    • Keep space heaters at least three feet away from other objects, and never leave them on when you go to sleep.
    • NEVER carry or handle hot liquids while holding or carrying your child.

    Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) are burned. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

    • Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting.
    • Carbon monoxide alarms will alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide in your home. Install an alarm near all the sleeping areas or gas sources in your home. Test the alarms regularly.
    • Never leave a car running in the garage, even if the garage door is open.

    Cleaning products, medicines, makeup, alcohol, and even plants can be poisonous to children. Even though adults may easily distinguish between products that are safe to eat and those that aren’t, children usually can’t. To a child, many types of medicines look a lot like candy and colorful cleaners look like fruity drinks.

    • Always store cleaning products and automotive fluids in locked cabinets.
    • Medicines and vitamins should be stored out of children’s sight and reach. Keep medicine cabinets locked.
    • Be aware of medications that may be in your handbag. Store handbags out of the reach of young children.
    • Keep cleaning products in their original containers. Never put a potentially poisonous product in something other than its original container (like a plastic soda bottle), where it could be mistaken for something harmless.
    • Never refer to medicine or vitamins as “candy.”
    • Talk to your children about the dangers of guns, and teach them to stay away from firearms.
    • Don’t keep guns in your home.
    • If you do have guns at home, keep them unloaded and make sure they are properly locked away. Lock the ammunition in a separate place, and keep all keys hidden.
    • Find out if there are guns in other homes where your children spend time. If there are, talk to the adults in that home about taking steps to make sure the guns are not accessible to children.

    Unintentional suffocation is the leading cause of injury-related death among children under 1 year of age. Children 3 months of age or under are at the highest risk of suffocation and strangulation in bed. Make sure your child has their OWN bed space (e.g. Crib). Children should NOT sleep in beds or couches with parents, the risk of a parent suffocating the child or rolling on top of them is great.

    • Always place your baby on his or her back for every sleep time.
    • Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
    • The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing).
    • Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, and bumper pads.
    • Wedges and positioners should not be used.

    All new cribs on the market today meet the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). Before getting a used crib, check to see if it has been recalled at www.recalls.gov. Also, look for the following suffocation and strangulation hazards:

    • Sharp or jagged edges
    • Missing, broken or loose parts
    • Loose hardware
    • Cut out designs in the headboard or footboard
    • Crib slats more than 2 3/8 inches apart (width of a soda can)
    • Corner post extension over 1/16 of an inch high
    • Gaps larger than 2 fingers width between the sides of the crib and the mattress
    • Drop side latches that could be easily released by your baby

    When using any crib:

    • Follow the directions for assembly.
    • Don’t try to fix any part of it with tape, wire, a rope, or by putting a broken side up against the wall.

    Eighty-four percent of drowning deaths among children ages 5 and under occur at a home, while 45 percent of fatalities among children ages 5 to 14 occur at a public pool. Children can drown in a few inches of water. Just as in the home, SUPERVISION is the best tool to keep your children safe from injury and death. Bathtubs, toilets, sinks, and swimming pools are all potential drowning hazards. Keeping bathroom doors locked and pools securely gated will help prevent injury.


    • Always stay within an arm’s reach of your child when he or she is in or near the bathtub, toilet, pools, spas or buckets. Never leave your child alone or in the care of older children during bath time.
    • Set your hot water heater at 120 degrees or lower to prevent burns.
    • Once bath time is over, immediately drain the tub.
    • Empty all buckets, containers and wading pools immediately after use. Store them upside-down and out of children’s reach.
    • Keep toilet lids closed and use toilet seat locks.
    • Keep doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms closed.
    • Keep electrical appliances (radio, hair dryer, curling iron, space heater) away from water, out of a child’s reach, and unplugged after each use.
    • Children in baby bath seats must be watched every second.


    • Actively supervise your children around water at all times, and have a phone nearby to call for help in an emergency.
    • Make sure your pool has four-sided fencing and a self-closing, self-latching gate to prevent a child from wandering into the pool area unsupervised. In addition, hot tubs should be covered and locked when not in use.
    • Do not use inflatable toys as substitutions for approved life vests.
    • Even children who know how to swim need supervision. Stay within easy reach and watch your children at all times.
    • Never swim in a pool or hot tub that has a broken, loose or missing drain cover.
    • From the start, teach children to never go near or in water without an adult present.
    • Learn CPR and know how to respond in water emergencies.

    Children ages 4 and under, especially under age 1, are at greatest risk for all forms of airway obstruction injury. Children ages 4 and under are almost 25 times more likely to experience a suffocation death than children between 5 and 14 years of age. To avoid choking, always supervise young children while they are eating and keep small objects that are potential choking hazards out of their reach.

    • Do not allow children under age 3 to eat small, round or hard foods, including small pieces of hot dogs, cheese sticks/chunks, hard candy, nuts, grapes and popcorn. Other hazardous food items include raw vegetables, jellybeans, raw unpeeled fruit slices, dried fruits, grapes or chunks of meat.
    • Cut foods into small pieces and give infants soft foods that they do not need to chew.
    • Do not let your child eat or suck on anything like candy while lying down or playing. Have children sit in a high chair or at a table while they eat.
    • Get on the floor on your hands and knees, so that you are at your child’s eye level. Look for and remove small items such as jewelry, coins, buttons, pins, nails and stones.
    • Children should play with safe and age-appropriate toys, as indicated by choking hazard safety labels. Toys that are labeled for children 3 years and older should be kept away from children under age 3. These toys may have small parts and could cause choking if placed in the mouth.
    • Regularly check toys for damage that may have created loose small parts. Damaged or dangerous toys should be repaired or thrown away immediately.
  • Additional Resources

    Cincinnati Children’s is a member of the Safe Kids USA campaign and the lead organization of the Cincinnati Safe Kids Coalition.  Their goal is to prevent your child from being injured in a motor vehicle crash, fire, scalding, pedestrian activity, poisoning, choking, bike crash, fall, water activity or shooting.

    Drug and Poison Information Center (DPIC)
    The Drug and Poison Information Center works to provide you with important prevention information, educational materials, first-aid information, common household hazards and references to national helpline organizations and agencies. 

    The phone number for the Cincinnati Drug and Poison Information Center is 513-636-5111. You may also call a national hotline, 1-800-222-1222, and you will be connected to the center that serves your area.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    Protect the Ones You Love: Child Injuries are Preventable. In an effort to raise parents' awareness about the leading causes of child injury in the United States and how they can be prevented, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched the Protect the Ones You Love initiative.

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    The best way to protect them in the car is to put them in the right seat, at the right time, and use it the right way.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) helps give additional information on choosing and using car seats as well as a Child Seat Inspection Station Locator to help with installation of your seats.

    American Academy of Pediatrics
    Healthy Children is a parenting Web site backed by 60,000 pediatricians committed to the attainment of optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. Ideal, whether you're looking for general information related to child health or for more specific guidance on parenting issues.

    Injury Free Coalition of Kids
    The Injury Free Coalition for Kids is among the country's fastest growing and most effective injury prevention programs. They are comprised of hospital-based, community-oriented programs, whose efforts are anchored in research, education, and advocacy.