Is Your Home Safe for Baby?

Take This Quiz to Find Out!

1. To protect your baby from burns due to hot tap water, which of the following is the correct setting for your home water heater?

Answer: 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Many parents may not know that hot water or steam can burn the skin like fire. In fact, liquid at 140 degrees Fahrenheit can burn a young child in just five seconds. Babies have delicate skin, making them particularly vulnerable. To protect your baby from scalds in the tub and throughout your home, set your hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, or just below the medium setting. To bathe your baby, turn on the cold water first, then mix in warm water until the temperature reaches about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. You can test the water with a bath or candy thermometer.

2. How frequently should you test your smoke alarms?

Answer: Once a month

Working smoke alarms are critical to your family's safety. If a fire breaks out in your home, you may only have three minutes to escape to safety, so early warning is vital. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and in every bedroom. To ensure they are working, test your smoke alarms monthly.

3. How frequently should you change the batteries in your smoke alarms?

Answer: At least once a year

Make sure to put fresh batteries in your smoke alarms at least once a year, or sooner if the alarm “chirps,” signaling that the batteries are low. Keep batteries on hand at all times so you can make sure your smoke alarm is always working. And remember, smoke alarms don't last forever. If the alarms in your home are ten years or older, or you don’t know how old they are, replace them with new alarms.

4. How many inches of water is it safe to leave your baby in unattended if you quickly have to answer the phone, leave the room to get a towel, etc.?

Answer: It’s never safe to leave a baby unattended in a bathtub, whether it contains water or not.

Always stay within touch supervision of your baby in the tub. Drowning is sudden and silent, so the only way to keep your baby safe while bathing is to keep her within an arm's reach. Baby bath seats are not a safety device and should not substitute for adult supervision. Always be sure to drain the tub immediately after bathing your baby.

5. Should you put fluffy pillows, soft blankets and stuffed animals in your baby's crib to keep her warm and happy?

Answer: No.

Fluffy pillows, soft blankets and stuffed animals will make your baby's crib look cozy and inviting, but they also present choking and suffocation hazards. To keep your baby safe while sleeping, remove all soft bedding, pillows, toys and stuffed animals from the crib and use sleepers instead of blankets to keep her warm.

6. What steps can you take to protect your baby from poisoning?

Answer: Install a carbon monoxide detector

Many careful parents aren't aware of the threat carbon monoxide (CO) poses to their baby. Commonly known as the “silent killer,” CO is an odorless, invisible and deadly gas. Because of their developing respiratory systems, infants are particularly vulnerable to CO exposure. To protect your baby and your entire family from dangerous levels of CO, install CO alarms on every level of your home and especially near sleeping areas. CO alarms will alert you if there is CO accumulation or build up in your home, giving you time to evacuate and call the fire department or 9-1-1 to investigate the problem.

7. Which of the following items could present a choking hazard for your toddler – buttons, coins, latex balloons, hard candy or popcorn?

Answer: All of the items

If something is small enough to fit in a toilet paper tube, it is not safe for little children. Look throughout your home and pick up any small items like buttons, coins, jewelry and any small toys. Before letting your child play with a toy, read the label and make sure your child is old enough to play with the toy. Always make sure you sit down with your toddler when he or she eats and cut food into small bites. Children shouldn't have small round food like peanuts and hard candy.

8. Where should you store matches and lighters?

Answer: Lock all matches and lighters where children cannot see or touch them.

Many parents may be surprised to know how young children are when they first become curious about fire. If you keep matches and lighters in the home, be sure to store them in a locked cabinet or drawer where children cannot see or touch them. From an early age teach your children to stay away from matches and lighters and to tell a grown up if they see them.

For more information on creating a safe home for your baby and family, visit the Home Safety Council Web site.