Home Safety Checklist: A Handy Guide for the Whole Family

Philip Palermo
Philip Palermo
Lead Senior Editor - For the Home

Follow these steps to keep your home and your family safe

What’s the best way to keep your home and family safe? With so many home security systems available to consumers at affordable prices, your options are endless. Technology can help you automate home security and reduce the risk of fires, intruders, and accidents. With this home security checklist, we’ll take you room by room through your home and explain the different ways you can create a custom safety system that works for you.

While it’s a good idea to do a complete walkthrough of your home while following this home safety checklist, remember that most of the steps on the list need to be regularly maintained. Set reminders to check bulbs and batteries regularly.

Home Safety Checklist: Outside Your Home

The area outside your home is your first line of defense when it comes to your home safety checklist. From keeping things well-lit to making sure your lawn care routine doesn’t cause a fire, here are the top safety tips to keep in mind:

 Illuminate Your Home’s Exterior with Outdoor Lights

Outdoor security lights are an effective but inexpensive way to secure your home. Well-lit entryways and outdoor areas deter thieves and make it easier for you to notice anything out of the ordinary.

 Make Sure Your House Number is Visible

If emergency services are dispatched to your home, they need to be able to find the house quickly. Make sure the number is prominently displayed and visible from the street.

 Install Outdoor Security Cameras

With modern outdoor cameras, you can monitor your home’s safety, get notifications on your phone when unusual activity is detected, and even opt in to professional 24/7 monitoring.

 Greet Guests with a Video Doorbell

In addition to acting as a normal doorbell, video doorbells help keep your home safe by showing you who’s at the front door before you go to open it.

 Mow the Lawn Early

According to the California Wildland Fire Coordinating Group, you should always mow your lawn before 10 A.M., and never during extremely dry weather spells.

 Get Your Chimney Cleaned

Hire a chimney sweep annually to inspect and clean your chimney, removing potentially hazardous residue.

 Put a Fence Around Your Pool

Drowning is the leading cause of death for children under the age of five. Install a fence with a locking gate around your in-ground pool to keep young kids away from danger.

 Maintain Outdoor Play Equipment

Check swing sets and jungle gyms frequently for loose nails, splintering wood, and any other hazards.

 Install a Trampoline Net

Trampoline jumping might be fun, but backyard trampolines cause almost 100,000 emergency room visits each year. If you do decide to get a trampoline, make sure it comes with a net that is high enough to prevent falls.

 Put Away Tools and Ladders

If you’re handy at DIY projects, you probably own at least a few pieces of home maintenance equipment. Just make sure to return dangerous tools and ladders to the garage when you’re done.

Home Safety Checklist: In the Kitchen

Did you know that the kitchen is the most common source of residential fires? One in three fires in the home are caused by cooking. Use this fire home safety checklist to reduce the risk of a kitchen fire.

 Upgrade to Smart Smoke Detectors

Your home should already have working smoke and CO detectors, but smart smoke detectors take home fire safety to a new level. These detectors send alerts to your smartphone when anything out of the ordinary is detected and will automatically dispatch the fire department to your home, reducing emergency response time.

 Clean Your Stove

Grease can build up on your stove over time. Since grease buildup is highly flammable, you should make sure you’re cleaning your stovetop regularly.

 Install Smart Outlets

Appliances like toasters and coffee makers that have been left plugged in pose a major fire safety threat. Smart outlets allow you to shut off power to the appliance from the convenience of your smartphone, without having to remember to unplug anything before you leave for work.

 Purchase the Appropriate Cooking Oil

Some cooking oils smoke and burn at lower temperatures than others. Use this guide to make sure the oil you use won’t overheat and cause a fire.

 Keep a Fire Extinguisher Handy

The best way to prevent fires in the kitchen is to eliminate risks that could lead to one. But accidents happen, so make sure you have a working fire extinguisher nearby in case things get out of control.

Home Safety Checklist: In the Living Room

The living room is a place where the whole family can spend carefree time together. Follow this checklist to keep it that way.

 Connect Everything to a Smart Hub

Most smart security devices can be integrated into a smart home system. Use a smart hub to easily manage your entire home security system from one place.

 Fit Your Front Door with Smart Locks

With smart locks, you can unlock your front door from your phone and change your entry passcode as often as you need.

 Purchase Cordless Window Treatments

Some traditional window blinds have long, dangling cords that can become safety risk when young children are running around. Go for cordless window treatments instead.

 Put Light Switches at the Top and Bottom of Stairs

The last thing you want to do is try to climb up or down the stairs in the dark, so make sure light switches are placed where you can get to them.

Home Safety Checklist: In the Bedroom

Emergencies can quickly become even more serious at night when the whole family is asleep. But with this short home safety checklist, you’ll be able to get a good night’s sleep without worry.

 Place Smoke Detectors in Sleeping Areas

You should place smoke detectors in every bedroom and outside every sleeping area.

 Check CO Monitor Placement

Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that cannot be smelled, tasted, or seen. CO detectors should be placed outside sleeping areas and on every floor of your home.

 Buy Flame-Resistant Bedding

Fires can spread incredibly quickly, and a small fire could ignite your sheets in just a few seconds. Look for brands that offer specific flame-resistant bedding, especially for children’s rooms.

 Keep a Flashlight Nearby

You’ll be thankful to have a flashlight in your bedside table when the power goes out and you need to safely move around the house.

Home Safety Checklist: For Kids and Seniors

If your family includes older or younger members, you might be especially concerned about following an elderly home safety checklist or a home safety checklist for kids. Here are a few final tips specifically tailored to each:

 Give Kids Control with an Echo Dot

The Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition is the perfect way to get kids excited about home safety. These smart home devices come in fun colors and will help your child learn to use basic functions of your home security system.

 Install a Non-Skid Tub Mat

Bathtubs are slippery, and even a closely supervised child or senior could be at risk of a fall. Non-skid mats are inexpensive and can be installed in a matter of minutes.

 Set Elderly Family Members Up with Medical Alert

Some of the best-rated medical alert systems help give seniors independence at home while you get peace of mind. Most include features like fall detection, GPS tracking, and voice communication.

The Bottom Line

With this home security checklist, you’ll get a better night’s sleep with the peace of mind that your family is safe. You’ll even be able to go on vacation without having to call a neighbor to check on your home, thanks to the automation that home security systems can provide.

Even with the best security planning, sometimes incidents out of your control can cause damage to your home or injure your loved ones. Make sure you have a homeowners insurance policy that covers your financial assets, especially if you live in an area that is prone to break-ins or adverse weather events. 

About the Authors

Philip Palermo

Philip Palermo Lead Senior Editor - For the Home

Philip Palermo leads the For the Home category at Reviews.com, including smart home and home security services. Since November 2015, he’s worn a number of hats at Reviews.com, but these days, Philip helps manage the day-to-day editorial content workflow. He’s worked at Engadget, The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Big Think, and several local/regional newspapers. Philip's also been known to use a lot of spreadsheets to gauge how much value he's getting out of his various services and subscriptions.