A Room-by-Room Guide to Making Your Home Safer

How to prevent the leading causes of home injuries, from slips and falls to smoke and fires.

Photo by David Buttigieg



  • Since smoke can further hinder visibility, keep a rechargeable flashlight plugged in by your bedside to light your way or to signal firefighters.
  • Place space heaters at least one yard from anything flammable. Turn them off when you're not in the room.
  • If you live in a two-story dwelling, a rescue ladder that can attach to your windowsill adds another escape route during a fire. Try the Kidde Fire Ladder, $60, smokesign.com.
  • Make sure security bars on windows have quick-release mechanisms.


  • Install window guards. They aren't a substitute for parental supervision, but they do provide reassurance.
  • Check the crib. Make sure it meets safety standards. (Request a list of recalled products from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at cpsc.gov.) Keep cords away from the crib. Keep the crib away from windows, if possible.


Slips, Trips, Falls

  • For extra support getting in and out of a slippery shower, attach a grab bar to your shower wall (you’ll find a variety on lowes.com), installing it into studs.
  • If your tub has a slippery bottom, add nonskid decals (walmart.com carries a number of them). Make sure your bath mats are nonslip, with rubber backings.
  • If standing in the shower is difficult, use a handheld shower and a shower seat (adjustable tub and shower chair by Home Care by Moen, $64, lowes.com for stores) to prevent injuries.


  • Keep portable heaters out of the bathroom. Water and electricity don't mix.
  • Disconnect appliances like hair dryers and curling irons after use, and stow them away only when they're cool.


  • Always supervise young children in the bath.
  • Consider purchasing toilet locks if you have small children. You’ll find the Safety 1st cover clamp toilet lock ($6) at most hardware stores.



  • Don't leave pots unattended on the stovetop.
  • Turn the handles of pots and pans inward so you'll be less likely to knock simmering food off the stove.
  • Keep a lid close to the stove to snuff out cooking fires. Don't use water, which can spread burning grease around the kitchen.
  • Keep pot holders, towels, and other flammable items away from burners.
  • Use only dry oven mitts―wet ones are a scalding danger.
  • In case of an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the oven door closed. If there's a microwave fire, keep the door closed and unplug the microwave.


  • Attach safety latches to drawers containing knives, scissors, and sharp utensils (Safety 1st cabinet and drawer latches, $3, available at most hardware stores).
  • Use appliance knob covers to keep kids from turning on stove burners.
  • Install a safety cover on your garbage disposal to protect kids' hands, such as the Plumb Pak strainer guard for garbage disposal ($3, lowes.com).