Guidelines for Indoor Safety

One of the most important safety items in the home is an emergency sticker on the phone. This sticker should include the telephone numbers of the police, fire department, ambulance, local hospital, physician, and poison control center in your area. You should also have your home address and number listed. Here are some additional helpful safety facts and tips:

Burns and Smoke Inhalation:

  • Most burns are caused by a scald from a hot liquid.
  • To reduce the risk of hot water burns in the bath, reduce the temperature of your hot water heater to between 120ºF and 130ºF. At 140ºF, water takes only 6 seconds to cause a scald burn, whereas at 120ºF, it takes 5 minutes to cause a scald burn.
  • Installed and maintained (twice a year battery checks) smoke detectors can prevent most deaths and serious injuries from house fires.
  • Keep curling irons, irons, and heating sources out of the reach of children.
  • Turn pot handles towards the rear of the stove, use back burners, and place burner guards to help avoid kitchen burns.


  • A common fall occurs when a baby climbs out of a crib. Many crib injuries result from unsafe cribs.
  • 20% of all falls occur on stairs. It is important to keep stairways as safe as possible by providing adequate lighting, removing toys, and tacking down loose carpet.
  • Use appropriate gate enclosures. Use a safety gate that is permanently mounted or firmly attached to the wall with double closures that cannot be operated by children.


  • Injuries from firearms are a leading cause of death and permanent injury in children.
  • If a gun is kept in the home, adults should ensure that it cannot be found or operated by children.
  • When a gun is kept in any home it should be stored unloaded, and the ammunition should be stored in a location separate from the gun.
  • Trigger locks or lockboxes should secure every gun in the home.


  • Safe storage of medicine, vitamins, and household cleaning supplies is one of the most important methods of poison prevention.
  • Poisons should never be stored in empty food or drink containers.
  • A high, locked cabinet is the best place to store poisons.
  • The most frequent call to poison control centers involves children who have eaten plants. Learn the names and toxicity of the plants in and around your home. Remove them if they are poisonous.
  • Syrup of ipecac (used to cause vomiting) should be kept in every home. However, some poison ingestion is worsened by vomiting. Consult with your doctor or poison control center before inducing vomiting with ipecac.
  • Call the Poison Control Hotline for more information at 1-800-222-1222.


  • The household bath is the most common site for drowning in the first year of life.
  • Infants and toddlers should always be supervised by an adult in the bath or near any container of water, including buckets and toilets.
  • Toilet lids should be kept closed.

Indoor Safety, American Heart Association, 1997.

Last updated: 12/2006