University of Illinois Extension

Keeping Your Home Safe

Amy Griswold, Family Life Educator

As your grandchildren grow and develop, so do the challenges of keeping your home safe. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 2 million children are injured or killed by hazards in the home each year. And, 36 percent of accidental childhood poisonings involved medication belonging to a grandparent. Use these tips to make sure your home is a safe place for your grandchildren.

  • Keep medicines and chemicals out of reach and out of sight of young children. Use child-resistant containers whenever young children are in the home. Always keep medications, cleaning products, and other household chemicals in their original containers and properly labeled.
  • Use safety latches and locks on cabinets and drawers in kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas. These latches are inexpensive and can be purchased at most discount, department, or home improvement stores.
  • Never leave a child alone near water - even for a minute. A child can drown in less than 2 inches of water. This includes diaper pails and cleaning buckets.
  • Use safety gates for stairs, safety plugs for electrical outlets, and window guards for any upper level windows. Safety netting on balconies and decks can prevent serious falls. Make sure you use approved safety devices.
  • Look for cords and strings that could strangle a child. Avoid clothing with drawstrings. Check window blinds and drapery cords to make sure no long cords are hanging. You can put safety tassels on the cords or cut the cords to a shorter length.
  • Use smoke detectors on every level of your home and near bedrooms. Check smoke detectors once a month to be sure they are working. Keep matches and lighters away from young children.
  • Make sure children's furniture meets safety standards. Check cribs, high chairs, toy chests, and bunk beds to make sure the child cannot get caught in railings, fall from the furniture, or tip the furniture onto himself.
  • Provide toys that are age-appropriate. Injuries often happen when a child is given toys designed for older children. Check for choking hazards, and supervise playtime.