A Safety Checklist for Parents
You can help keep your children safe by following these precautions and using common
Safety tips include:
Teach your children to wash their hands often throughout the day, particularly after
using the bathroom, petting animals, playing outside, coughing, sneezing, blowing
their nose—and always before eating and preparing food.
Keep their vaccines up-to-date.
Be sure you know where they are, who they're with, and what they're doing when out
of your presence
Check the references of babysitters or caregivers carefully. Make certain they are
certified in CPR. Always leave a list of emergency contact numbers. You may also want
to check their social media posts.
In the home
Many injuries happen in the home. The following tips can make your home safer.
General safety issues
Cover sharp edges on furniture, especially tables that are at the height of toddlers.
Bolt lightweight furniture, bookcases, and televisions to the walls so they can't
tip over onto children if pulled on. Use outlet plugs to prevent children from putting
their fingers or toys in the outlets.
Use safety latches, gates, door knob covers, and door locks to help keep children
from entering rooms and other areas where they may be at risk for injury. Gates that
are used at the top of stairs should be secured to the wall using screws.
Install cordless window coverings.
Make sure your home has smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. There should be at least
one on each level and outside each bedroom. Check them monthly to be sure they still
If you have an outdoor pool or spa, make certain there is a barrier surrounding it
that includes a 4-foot-high fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate. Lock the
gate when the pool is not in use. If your house serves as one side of the barrier,
doors leading to the pool should have alarms. Pool alarms provide extra security.
Sliding glass doors, even with locks that must be secured after each use, are not
an effective barrier.
In 2020, firearm-related injuries among children and adolescents ages 1 to 19 replaced
motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death among children.
Firearm deaths are preventable. The safest approach is not to keep guns in the home.
But if there are guns in the home:
Make sure all guns inside the house are unloaded and locked away.
Keep ammunition locked away separately from the firearm.
Keep all lock combinations, codes, and storage keys hidden. Make sure children and
teens do not have access to these.
Talk with your children about guns. Remind them that if they come across a gun they
should stay away from it and tell you immediately.
Ask about firearms and safe storage in all homes where your child spends time. Homes
of friends, neighbors, and relatives account for more than a third of all unintentional
Thousands of children are treated or hospitalized each year because of accidental
poisonings in their homes. These tips from the American Association of Poison Control
Centers can make your home safer:
Keep cleaning supplies, medicines, alcohol, tobacco, garden chemicals, and toxic art
supplies locked away or on a high shelf. Make sure these items are put away right
after each use.
Purchase over-the-counter and prescription medicines with childproof caps. Keep them
on a high shelf or in a locked cabinet, not on your bedside table.
Keep vitamins, supplements, and minerals such as iron out of reach. They can be hazardous
and even fatal to children.
Never use food containers to store nonfood substances.
Keep button or lithium batteries out of the reach of children. Swallowing these small
batteries can cause serious life-threatening problems.
In the car
Keep your children safe in the car by following these tips from the American Academy
Make sure you and your children are properly buckled in every time you are in the
Use an infant car seat correctly. Don't place one in the front seat of a vehicle equipped
with an air bag on the passenger side. The safest location for a car seat is the middle
of the rear seat. But in some cars, it may not be possible to secure a car seat tightly
in the middle. In that case, the rear side position is the safest. All babies and
toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are 2 years of age, or until
they have reached the highest weight and height allowed by the car seat's manufacturing
Secure a child in an approved infant car seat until the child's height and weight
is above the forward-facing car seat limit. At which point, a belt-positioning booster
seat should be used. A child should be in a booster seat until they are 4 feet, 9
inches tall and 8 to 12 years old. Then the child should be restrained by a regular
seat belt. Children should not sit in the front-passenger seat until they are 13 years
Never let children ride in the back of a pickup truck.
On the playing field
Make sure that your children are safe by following these safety guidelines:
If your child plays on sport teams, educate yourself about the sport's safety guidelines
and work with your child's coaches to ensure all necessary protective equipment is
supplied and used.
Insist your children wear a helmet when riding their bicycles. Helmets should carry
a sticker from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or the Snell Memorial
Foundation (Snell). Be sure your kids are familiar with the rules of the road before
letting them ride without supervision.
If a helmet has been involved in a serious fall or crash, it should not be reused.
If a helmet appears damaged or you are unsure of its condition, it's best to throw
it out and get a new one.
Insist your children wear a helmet and wrist, elbow, and knee guards when skateboarding
or in-line skating. Keep them off streets with heavy traffic.
Give them swimming lessons from a qualified instructor. Water survival skill training
and swim lessons can help reduce the risk of drowning in children ages 1 to 4. The
American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swim lessons for most children by the age
of 4. Infant swim lessons are not advised. But parent-infant water play classes are
OK to enroll in. Never let children swim alone or without adult supervision.
Be sure their instructors and coaches have current CPR and first aid certifications.
On the farm
Follow this strategy to help prevent injuries:
Separate young children from farm hazards by fencing in a play area.
Provide child care to assist farm families and farm workers or pool family child care,
especially at planting and harvesting times.
Prohibit extra riders on tractors, mowers, and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Children
under the age of 16 should not be allowed to operate ATVs, according to the American
Academy of Pediatrics. ATV riders should always wear a motorcycle-style helmet approved
by the Department of Transportation.
Make sure that tractors and other farm equipment have rollover protective structures and
seat belts and that these are used at all times.
Limit young children's access to large animals. Have an adult supervise young children
around livestock and teach them how to be safe around farm animals.
Correctly store farm chemicals and cleaning agents in areas where children have no
Provide children who work on farms with personal hearing-protection equipment and teach
them how to use it correctly.