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The home is the most common place for young children to be injured. Before they begin school, children often spend the greater part of their day at home and they are curious, adventurous and do not have a full understanding of the consequences of their actions.
Most injuries are predictable and preventable. It’s important to make the home environment as safe as possible to minimise the likelihood, frequency and severity of injuries.
Injuries around the home requiring a visit to hospital are most common in children aged one to two years, with injury rates decreasing with age. Child deaths in the home are most common in children up to four years old.
The most common causes of injury to young children in the home are falls, poisoning and burns. Jammed fingers, dog bites and near drowning are also risks for young children around the home.
Common scenarios related to injuries in the home include:
Supervision is the most important safety precaution. However, it is understandable that parents and caregivers cannot watch their children every second of every day.
Have a think about your daily routine. Sometimes there’s a lot going on – especially if you’re dealing with more than one child. At times like these, injuries can happen because supervision is more difficult.
Consider making life simpler for yourself, for example by serving dinners you have prepared earlier and frozen, or giving your baby the occasional wipe down with a face washer instead of a bath.
Take the time to create a safe home for your child by looking for potential hazards and implementing steps to address any risks.
Common injuries in the kitchen include poisoning, falls or scalds from hot food, water or other liquids. To avoid injuries, try to keep children out of the kitchen when you are cooking. Some parents may choose to use a playpen at this busy time or a safety gate at the kitchen door.
It’s also important to educate your child about the dangers in the kitchen, and set rules about what is off-limits for children to touch.
Other ways to keep children safe in the kitchen include installing:
For more information see our fact sheet
Safety: Poisoning prevention and
Burns – prevention and first aid.
The bathroom is a dangerous room in the home for children due to the risk of scalds and drownings. Fall injuries are also common due to the combination of water and slippery surfaces.
For more information, see our fact sheet
Safety: Bath time
To keep children safe and free of injuries in the laundry:
To ensure a safe sleeping environment for babies, lay them in their own sleeping area without blankets, bumpers or pillows. Parents can share the same room but not the same bed. Co-sleeping (sharing a sleep surface with your baby) can increase the risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in
Infancy (SUDI), including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and fatal sleep accidents. For more information, see
Red nose: safe sleeping.
For information on furniture in the bedroom, see our fact sheet
Safety: Nursery and baby furniture.
Provide children with a safe play space in the living area.
Store toys in a ventilated toy box with holes to avoid suffocation if your child climbs inside, and have a slow closing latch to prevent finger jams. Install finger-jam protectors and door-stoppers to both the hinge side and the opening side of doors to prevent serious finger
Be extra careful of remote controls and other devices that may have button batteries. If button batteries are swallowed, they can cause serious injury or death. See our fact sheet
Safety: Button batteries.
Windows play a vital role in home safety, ensuring a second way out of a room in an emergency situation, such as a fire. Make sure nothing is blocking or preventing a window from opening in case of emergency.
However, windows can also pose a risk to young children. To prevent a fall injury from a window:
Do not allow young children near home gym equipment such as weights, treadmills and exercise bikes. Place these items in a separate room or use safety gates to keep children away from these items. Before you purchase a treadmill, research which models provide protective covers to
prevent little fingers and hands getting caught. Check that the machine has a safety stop switch to disable it quickly in case of an injury.
What first aid kit should I purchase?
It’s not necessary to purchase a first aid kit – you can make one up yourself, but make sure you have all the right bits and pieces in it. See our fact sheet First aid. If you wish to purchase a ready-made first aid kit, choose one made by a reputable provider (e.g. St John Ambulance, Australian Red Cross) and one
that is suitable for your needs as they come in a range of sizes. It’s a good idea to have a first aid kit in the car, in the home and a smaller one to take with you as you and your children are out and about.
Where can I purchase child safety locks and guards, and
where should I put them?
There are many products available in hardware stores, department stores (e.g. Big W, Target, Baby Bunting) and online that help make your home safer for your baby, toddler or child. It’s a good idea to take a look around your home from your child’s perspective – get down low for
crawling babies, and look at what a toddler or older child might want to climb on or get to. Make a list and choose products that will help secure, lock, latch or plug the spots you want to make safe.
Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital Safety Centre. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.
Reviewed October 2018.
This information is awaiting routine review. Please always seek the most recent advice from a registered and practising clinician.
Kids Health Info is supported by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. To donate, visit
This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.