Play It Safe and Secure with a Home Safety Checklist

Smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers. All are designed to help keep you safe in an emergency. But there’s so much more that you can do on your own to help keep you safe.

Home and recreation injuries affect people of all ages and account for about 1/3 of all injury-related emergency department visits. But the good news is that many of these injuries can be prevented. Take the time this summer to make your home a safe and healthy place to live and play!

Start Small: Keep the Little Ones Safe
Home safety improvements can sharply reduce the chance of injuries to young children.

  • Install stair gates.
  • Put childproof locks on cabinets and toilets.
  • Add electrical plug covers.

Fire Safety

  • Make sure smoke detectors are working properly and change the batteries regularly.
  • Replace any frayed or cracked cords.
  • If any outlets or switches feel warm to the touch, unplug the cords and talk to an electrician.
  • Check the wattage of bulbs in all your lights. If you don’t know the maximum recommended wattage, don’t use bulbs that exceed 60 watts.
  • Create and practice a home fire escape plan with two ways out of each room. In the event of a fire, leave right away. Once you’re out of the house, stay out.


  • Install drawer stops on chests of drawers.
  • Avoid placing items that might encourage climbing, such as toys, on top of tall furniture.
  • Strap televisions and furniture to the wall with safety straps or L-brackets.
  • Buy furniture with wide legs or with solid bases.
  • Place heavy items on shelves near the floor.
  • Beds should be located at least three feet away from a radiator or portable heater.
  • Children should sleep in flame-resistant sleepwear.


  • Move appliances and cords away from heat sources and sink areas.
  • Unplug unused appliances.
  • Consider equipping adding outlets near sinks with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to protect against electrical shock.
  • Store flammable items, including potholders and towels, away from the stove.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach.
  • Keep a dry chemical fire extinguisher in your kitchen and know how to use it.


  • Unplug small appliances like hair dryers, shavers and curling irons, when you’re not using them.
  • Install a GFCI for your bathroom outlets.
  • Put all medicine and vitamins away anout of sight after every use. Consider cabinet locks.

Living Room

  • Make sure no rugs or furniture are resting on electric wires.
  • Add a rug pad under loose rugs.
  • Place TVs and stereos in a dry spot, well away from water sources like plants and aquariums.


  • Install a smoke alarm outside the bedrooms and on each level of your house.
  • Test your smoke alarm batteries every month. Replace the batteries twice a year. Doing it during the spring and fall time changes is an easy way to remember.

Breathe Easy at Home

  • To keep your air clean, have a no-smoking policy in your home.
  • If your home was built before 1978, check for lead paint.
  • Make sure your home has a carbon monoxide alarm if you have any appliances that can produce carbon monoxide (fireplaces, gas heaters and stoves, etc.). For the best protection, install a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas. To prevent carbon monoxide buildup, have a qualified technician check the chimney and all fuel-burning devices every year.
  • Keep air conditioners, heaters, humidifiers and dehumidifiers clean and change filters regularly.
  • To prevent mold growth, periodically check the roof, basement and plumbing for water leaks.


  • Instead of metal ladders, use fiberglass or wood ones near overhead wires.
  • Don’t put your feet above the highest level that’s safe for standing. For an extension ladder, that’s the fourth step from the top. For a stepladder, it’s the second step from the top. Make sure the rungs are dry before you use any type of ladder.
  • Check that every outdoor outlet has its own waterproof cover and is equipped with a GFCI.


  • Keep flammable products in tightly closed, containers that are not made of glass.
  • Store flammable products far from gas appliances, including heaters, furnaces and water heaters.
  • To prevent accidental scalding, set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or the manufacturer’s recommended setting.
  • Have the furnace cleaned and inspected at least once a year.
  • Empty the dryer vent each time you use the dryer.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,,

How do you keep your home safe? Login or register and tell us about it in the comments below!

Most recent update: 9/26/2017


SIGN IN to share your comments or REGISTER today to become a Connect member.