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Childproofing Your Home

More than 40 percent of unintentional deaths of children occur in or around the home. The leading causes of death of children at home include fire, burns, suffocation, drowning, choking, falls, poisoning, and firearms.

“Supervision of your child is the key to keeping them safe,” says Susan Pollack, M.D., pediatrician with the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and Kentucky SAFE KIDS coordinator.

“However, you cannot possibly be in the same place as your child every second. As hard as you try to supervise your child, having your home childproofed gives you that extra peace of mind.”

Small objects

If you do not have children, you may not notice all the pennies, paper clips, bottle caps, and other small objects just lying around your house. But to a child these items can be deadly. Any items that can fit inside a toilet paper roll are a choking hazard to children under age 3.

Burns and fires

Preventing burns takes more preparation than having a smoke alarm. Parents need to turn their water heaters down to 120° F to prevent scalding. Also use stove knob guards. If you smoke, keep all your smoking materials out of reach of children.


Never leave water standing—whether in the tub, a sink, or even a bucket. It doesn’t take much water for a child to drown. You may even want to consider toilet locks or a gate to keep the bathroom off-limits.
If you have a pool, have a four-sided fence—the fourth side should be between your own home and the pool.

Poisonous materials

Two of the most dangerous items in a house can be dishwasher soap and drain cleaner. Ingested, they can cause unrepairable scarring due to internal chemical burns.

Medications, including vitamins, need to be in childproof containers and out of reach. Old medicine should always be flushed, not thrown away.

Pesticides are also poisonous to children. You should minimize or discontinue using pesticides on your lawn or in your home if children are in your house. But if you do use them, keep them in original containers.


To prevent falls, you can make your home a “gated community.” Put gates at the top and bottom of stairs.


It is best to not keep guns in your home if you have children. However, if you must have a gun, keep it and its ammunition locked in separate containers.

Even if you do not have a gun in your home, friends and family may have them in their houses. If your child is going over to someone else’s house, ask if there are guns around and if they are kept locked away. Also, educate your children about guns and their danger.

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