Home Safety for Infants and Toddlers

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When infants and toddlers are learning, they may not know when something is not safe for them. Keeping your home safe is the best way for your child to explore and learn. 

There are things you can do to make your home safe and help your child avoid injuries.


  • Hold your baby when you feed them. Do not prop them up or give them strained food through a bottle. This can cause choking. 
  • Do not leave your small child alone during meals.
  • Babies learn by putting things in their mouth. Keep small objects away from them to avoid choking. This includes things like:
    • Marbles
    • Batteries
    • Jewelry
    • Magnets
    • Foods like:  nuts, seeds, grapes, and candy
    • Ear buds
    • Balloons
    • Plastic bags
    • Coins


Sleep-related deaths are one of the top causes of death for babies. This is called sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It is part of Sudden Unexplained Infant Deaths (SUID).

  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep. Do not put them to sleep on their side or stomach. This can cause suffocating or choking, which keeps them from breathing.
  • The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib or bassinet. Having your baby sleep in your bed (bed-sharing) increases your baby’s chance of dying of SUID.
  • Room-sharing can help prevent SUID. This is when your baby sleeps in your room in their own sleep space, like a crib.
  • You can breastfeed in your bed. When your baby stops nursing, put them back in their sleep space. Place them on their back.


  • Do not hit or shake your baby. If you feel overwhelmed, take a break. Have someone you trust watch your baby for a little while.
  • Never smoke or let anyone smoke around your baby.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be installed in your home and checked each month to make sure they’re working correctly.
  • Always have 1 hand on your baby. Never leave them alone:
    • In a vehicle.
    • When giving them a bath.
    • In a shopping cart.
    • With pets or other animals.
    • On a raised surface like a changing table, counter, or chair.
  • Put safety locks on all cabinets that contain cleaning products or medicine. If you carry medicine, cigarettes, or lighters, keep them out of reach.
  • lace safety covers on electric outlets that are not being used.
  • Put baby gates at the top and bottom of any stairs.
  • Window screens are not strong enough keep your child from falling out of the window. Lock all windows in your home.
    • Open windows from the top, not the bottom. Install window guards on windows that open from the bottom. Window guards can be used by adults and older children.
    • If a window is open, do not put furniture like low tables, couches, chairs, or baby gates in front of the window. Your child could climb up on these and fall.
  • When your baby starts to crawl or walk, do not let them keep anything in their mouth while moving. Items like spoons, lollipops, or Popsicle® sticks can be harmful. If they fall, these items could hurt their mouth or eyes.
  • A lot of houseplants should not be eaten. Check to see if any of your plants are poisonous. If your child eats or drinks something from a poisonous plant, call the Central Ohio Poison Center at 1 (800) 222-1222 (TTY 866-688-0088).


Check the space between the crib’s rails

Babies and young children can drown in just 1 to 2 inches of water. Never leave them alone in a bathtub, hot tub, or backyard pool. If you must leave, take them with you.

  • When giving your baby a bath, use a sink or infant tub with a non-skid mat. Most of their body and all of their face should be out of the water.
    • Do not use bath seats when bathing your baby. They can tip over easily once your baby can pull themselves up or stand.
    • Keep the supplies you need within reach so you can always keep 1 hand on your baby.
  • Set your hot water heater temperature below 120° Fahrenheit (F) or 48.9° Celsius (C). Hot water can burn a baby’s skin at lower temperatures than an adult. Check the temperature of your baby’s bath water before it touches their skin. You can dip your elbow in the water (Picture 1).
  • Be careful around water outside. Do not leave things out that have water in them, like:
    • Buckets
    • Trash cans
    • Inflatable pools
    • Recycling bins
    • Coolers with melted ice
    • Large water bowls


  • Crib - The safest place for your baby to sleep.
    • Do not use drop side cribs. Babies and toddlers can easily get trapped in them.
    • Do not incline your baby's crib past a 10-degree angle. An angled mattress is not safe.
    • To avoid suffocation, never put these items in your baby's crib:  soft bedding, comforters, loose sheets, blankets, pillows, sheep skins, toys, and bumpers.
    • Use tight-fitting sheets to cover the crib mattress.
    • Make sure no cords hang from window blinds, lamps, or mobiles near the crib.
    • The space between crib spindles cannot be more than 2 and 3/8 inches apart. This is about as wide as a soda can.
  • Highchair - When your baby can sit up without support, they can use a highchair.
    • Do not place the highchair near tables or countertops. They could push off the table or countertop and tip the highchair over.
    • Make sure the tray latches securely.
    • Always use a 5-point harness when your baby is in the highchair, and never leave them alone in the chair.
  • Infant swing - A baby that cries a lot may be calmed by an infant swing.
    • The swinging movement often soothes the baby.
    • Always use a 5-point harness when your baby is in the highchair, and never leave them alone in the chair.
    • If your baby falls asleep in the swing, gently remove them from the swing and place them in their crib, on their back.


  • Car seat - An approved car seat is the most important piece of equipment you can have for your baby's safety.
    • Babies must ride in a properly fitted rear-facing car seat in the back seat until they’re at least 2-years-old or they reach the weight or height limit of their rear-facing seat.
    • Do not let your baby sleep in a car seat when not traveling. If it’s being used as a carrier, place it on a hard, flat floor where there is no danger of it falling over.
  • Playpen - If using a playpen or Pack ‘n Play®, make sure the sides are locked. Playpens should be free of pillows, comforters, blankets, bumper pads, and stuffed animals.
  • Baby walkers - These are very dangerous and must not be used.
    • Children don’t need them to learn to walk./li>
    • Each year, many babies are seriously injured from falls while in walkers.
  • Baby gates - Use these to keep children from getting into unsafe areas. Place them at the top and bottom of the stairs.


  • Take strings off of sleepers so babies can’t wrap them around their neck or toes.
  • Check all clothing for loose buttons that could be swallowed or strings that could get wrapped around your baby’s neck, fingers, or toes.
  • If your baby uses a pacifier, do not tie it to their clothes or around their neck.



Home Safety for Infants and Toddlers (PDF)

HH-IV-73 • ©1997, revised 2022 • Nationwide Children's Hospital