Safety in the home

Tips for toddler-proofing your home

Your toddler needs to feel and be safe in your home. You can take care of a few parts of your home to make sure that you feel confident and happy your little one can explore in complete safety. Find out what an expert suggests to help you manage the safety of your home. Here’s a quickstart guide to safety ideas you might want to use in your home:

Cut-away house

Kitchen

Close-up of kitchen

It’s best to keep little ones out of the kitchen altogether, except under strict supervision.

  • By 13 months, kids can open containers so keep chemicals, medicines and cleaning products including liquitabs above child height.
  • Fit short power leads on kettles and other appliances.
  • Use the back burners of your hob, turning pan handles away from the edge.
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher handy.
  • Always unplug the iron and put it safely out of reach whilst it cools.
  • Always store all plastic bags and nappy sacks out of reach to avoid suffocation.
  • Keep hot drinks well away from little hands and don't reach over your tot's head to get a hot drink.
  • Restrict the jobs you give your child to their age and ability. Little hands can mix dough perfectly, whilst older kids can peel and chop vegetables.
  • Mop up spills right away.
  • Avoid using tablecloths and mats which can be pulled off tables and work surfaces.
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Hall and stairs

Close-up of hall and stairs
  • Fit a child safety gate at both the top and bottom of the stairs. You can also fit one to keep toddlers out of rooms such as the kitchen.
  • Avoid accidents by keeping these areas well lit and free from toys and clutter.
  • Make sure banisters are firmly fixed to the wall and steady all the way up.
  • Check that stair carpets are fitted securely.
  • Always hold onto the bannister when carrying your tot upstairs.
  • Never leave the front door open - your toddler can easily run out onto the road.
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Living room

Close-up of living room

This is where your little one is likely to spend most of their time, so be especially careful.

  • Put a sturdy fireguard in front of every fire and always unplug an electric fire from the socket when not in use.
  • Keep curtains tied back away from fires and tie up blinds cords and chains.
  • Avoiding trailing wires across floors as these can cause young children to trip and fall.
  • Check that appliances are in good working order replacing cracked plugs and worn cables.
  • Keep matches and lighters well out of reach along with any breakable items.
  • Make sure low cupboards and drawers are fitted with child proof locks.
  • Ensure shelves and wall mounted TV's are fitted securely.
  • Keep sewing kits, scissors and knitting needles locked away.
  • Keep all drinks, especially alcohol and medicines out of reach.
  • Never leave cigarette ends in ashtray. Never smoke in the same room as your baby. The best way to protect your family from the effects of second hand smoke is to create a smoke- free home- either by stopping smoking or by smoking outside.
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Bathroom

Close-up of bathroom
  • Run cold water first and test the temperature of the bath before putting your child in.
  • Reduce the hot water temperature on your boiler thermostat.
  • Use containers with child resistant tops but be aware that a clever toddler could undo them.
  • Never leave your child alone in the bathroom.
  • Cover hot towel rails with a towel.
  • Never take electrical appliances into the bathroom.
  • Keep cosmetics, medicines, shaving razors and cleaning materials locked away in a high- level cabinet.
  • Always take old medicines back to the pharmacist for safe disposal.
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Out and About

Close-up of outside
  • Make sure all balconies, fences and gates are secure with no gaps which a child can squeeze through.
  • Always supervise kids near the water. If you or a neighbour have a pond or pool, make sure it's fenced off.
  • Keep kids out of the way when you are mowing the lawn or doing DIY in the home or garden.
  • Site bonfires and barbeques away from fences, sheds and trees and supervise kids at all times.
  • Lock away tools and chemicals.
  • Teach your tot not to eat any berries or plants.
  • Stay aware of your child's movements at all times, and be particularly alert to the risk of them suddenly wandering off.
  • Ensure your tot is safely strapped into a five-point harness in the buggy.
  • Teach your child about road safety and the dangers of traffic.
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In the car

Close-up of car
  • The law changed in September 2006 and now you must ensure that all children are secured in an appropriate car seat. See childcarseats for further information.
  • Babies and young children should never be left alone inside a vehicle, even when the engine is turned off.
  • Never leave the keys in the ignition when you get out of the car and car keys should be stored in a safe place in the home, out of the reach of children.
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Last updated: 17 October 2012