Safety Checklist

Second-hand House

Safety Checklist

The Home Safety Guru’s ® Safety Checklist

NOTE: This questionnaire is set up so that “Yes” or “N/A”responses means that the item has been complete or does not apply. “No” responses indicate the areas in the home that need to be addressed, whether by removing items, installing various child or home safety items, or by taking care of other issues.  Readers will be directed to go to various chapters of the book for specific directions .


General Home Safety Items – Chapter 6

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Is a well-stocked First Aid Kiteasily available in the home?Being able to quickly administer First AidChapter 6
Is hot water temperature at the home set no higher than the manufacturer’s recommendation and that the water dispensed no hotter than 120°?Skin burns or scaldsChapter 6
Do you avoid smoking around others and when using oxygen?Second-hand smoke issues or fires/burnsChapter 6
If you keep firearmsin your home, are they securely locked away in a safe place and unloaded, or secured with a trigger or breach lock?Accidental FiringChapter 6
Is ammunition removed from firearms and stored separately?Accidental FiringChapter 6
Is the Poison Control Center phone number 800-222-1222 programmed into everyone’s cell phone?Family SafetyChapter 6
Is there an emergency contact name and number programmed into everyone’s cell phone?Family SafetyChapter 6

Common Areas

Electrical – Chapter 7

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Are there Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) outlets installed in areas where water is used (e.g., kitchens, bathrooms, garages, exterior outlets, etc.)? Does everyone know where the receptacle reset button is and how to use it?Safety from electrical shockChapter 7
For rooms where you enter frequently, or where light switches are not easily accessible, do you have motion and/or heat sensing switches installed so lights go on automatically?Providing proper lightingChapter 7, 8
Are light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats and other controls located so you can easily access them, including if they are located at the back side of a counter or behind a piece of furniture?Easy access to electrical outletsChapter 7, 8
Are you careful of how you route power and extension cords to help minimize tripping?Eliminate tripping hazardsChapter 7
Are you careful in ensuring you don’t overload outlets and circuit breakers in your home?Minimize power interruptions and Preventing FiresChapter 7
Is your circuit breaker or fuse panel up to current code?Safe circuit breakersChapter 7
Do you have an automatic means of backup electrical power (e.g., natural gas, propane, gasoline or diesel powered generator)?Continuous power for lights, heat, water and medical devicesChapter 43
Do all electrical or portable heating devices have UL, CSA or ETL approval?Fire riskChapter 28

Lighting – Chapter 8

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Are LED or non-incandescent-bulb night lights or safety lighting used where needed instead of incandescent bulb night lights? Should this be> Are all night lights and safety lighting LED type?  If this is used then maybe it should be later in the list?Electrical shocks, injuries

Long bulb life means less frequency for changing bulbs

Chapter 8
Are working flashlights accessible in every bedroom?Safe lighting in a power outage or in a fire eventChapter 8
Are they continuously charging in a wall outlet, are the batteries changed annually when the smoke detector batteries are replaced (or fresh ones stored nearby), or are they the LED type that are checked annually as well?Safe lightingChapter 8
Are all areas well illuminated for safety, including rooms, hallways, closets, stairways, etc.?Safe lightingChapter 8
Is there a light switch at both ends of the stairs?Safe lightingChapter 8
If needed, is there a magnifying glass with additional illumination available for reading?Safe reading of instructions, etc.Chapter 8
Where reading, is there a source of illumination that can be moved to make it easier to see?Safe lighting& reducing glareChapter 8
If needed, do the inside of cabinets have supplemental lighting or is there a flashlight readily available to make it easier to see items and contents stored inside?Safe lighting when reaching into cabinetsChapter 8
Are there appropriate window covers coverings or blinds or window tints in place to help reduce lighting and glare?Reduce glare, increase indoor light qualityChapter 20
If lights are located where a ladder is required to change bulbs, have you changed them to LED and/or compact fluorescent bulbs?Long bulb life means less frequency for changing bulbsChapter 8

Long bulb life means less frequency for changing bulbs

Walls – Chapter 9

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Are walls and doorways painted in contrasting colors to assist navigation through your home?Easy of recognizing different roomsChapter 9
Are colors used in areas like bathrooms to help identify items like toilets, sinks, showers, faucets, etc.?Increased contrast allows for better visionChapter 9
Are there railings in place in hallways and other areas?Assistance while moving through your homeChapter 9, 26
Is there enough space to allow easy movement of wheelchairs and walkers in and out of rooms?Proper space for individuals to maneuverChapters 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24

Doors – Chapter 10

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Can all interior doors be easily opened and unlocked from either side by an adult?Accidental lock-ins or lock-outsChapter 10
If operating a door knob is difficult, have you changed to large cover that go over the door knobs to make them easier to operate, or have you changed your openers to door levers?Easy of room entry and exitChapter 10
If you have door levers, do they have an angle return at the end of the handle?Prevent catching or snagging of clothes on door handlesChapter 10
Are your doorways wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair or walker?Allow enough room to safely move through doorwaysChapter 10, 20
Do you have means to open interior locking doors from both sides (e.g., a key to open a locked door like to a bathroom, etc.)?Chapter 10
Do you have a deadbolt that does not require a key to unlock it from inside your home?All locks should be able to unlock without a keyChapter 10
For doors that self-close (e.g., doors to a garage, double-hinged kitchen doors), do you have a means in place to easily hold the door open?Door will not close onto a personChapter 10
If a person is in a wheelchair or uses a walker, is there an easy and simple way to pull a door shut (e.g., handle or pull located near the middle of the door)Safe closing of doorsChapter 10
If needed, is there an electric opening door device installed to allow easy operation of the door?Easy of opening doorChapter 10
If you have visitors or support professionals visiting your home, do you have an electronic door locks that can be programmed with unique codes to allow them to get in to your home without you going to the door?Easy of entry by allowed visitorsChapter 10
If having an electronic door lock is not feasible or too expensive, do you keep a key to your home in a lockable box so visitors can get in?Easy of entry by allowed visitorsChapter 10
Do you have anexterior lock box for a key to your home that only the fire department can operate in case of an emergency (one brand is called Knox Box)?Fast and safe entry by emergency personnelChapter 10

Faucets – Chapter 11

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Do you have single-lever faucets and shower controllers,Easy use, cannot accidentally turn off just hot or coldChapter 16, 19, 22
Do your faucets have automatic on/off motion sensing controlsEasy to use without touching faucet


Chapter 16, 19, 22
Do your faucets and shower controllers have anti-scald and pressure compensating means built in?Prevent scalding by hot waterChapter 16, 19, 22
Are sink and bathtub/shower faucets located for easy access?Prevent slipping or bendingChapter 16, 19, 22
Are shower controls located in a place that makes it easy for a caregiver to operate them without getting wet?Prevent slippingChapter 19

Countertops& Sinks – Chapter 12

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Is the height of countertops appropriate for use, especially for a wheelchair or if seated?Comfortable use for everyoneChapter 12, 16, 18, 22
Is there adequate countertop space available to safely transfer hot or heavy items from a microwave or an oven?Proper space to set down heavy or awkward itemsChapter 16
Is there adequate countertop space adjacent to a refrigerator or freezer?Proper space to set down heavy or awkward itemsChapter 16
Is there adequate space under countertops to allow a wheelchair to easily roll under a sink?Easy access to the sink without reachingChapter 12, 16, 18, 22
Are exposed drain and water pipes under sinks insulated and padded?Prevent contact with hot or cold pipes, also prevent legs from rubbing on rough pipes
Is the garbage disposer switch in an accessible location and is the switch in a contrasting color switch?Switch must be accessible and contrasting color switch will prevent accidental turn onChapter 16

Cabinets & Drawers – Chapter 13

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Do all cabinets doors and drawers have “C” or “D” handles or deep recessed pulls to allow easy opening?Allow for easy use, prevent fingers from being tangled in a knob.  Knobs or handles with ends can cause clothes to catch.Chapter 13, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24
Can you easily see into all drawers?Easy to see what is in drawersChapter 13
Do you have pull-out shelves or drawers inside your lower cabinets to allow easy access to items stored inside all cabinets?Easy to reach all items without bending and reachingChapter 13
Do you avoid storing heavy or awkward items in above-counter cabinets?Danger when lifting heavy items overheadChapter 13

Appliances – Chapter 14

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Are the controls for all appliances (e.g., washing machines, clothes dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves, ovens, cooktops, etc.)large, easy to see and easily accessible?Danger when reaching over appliances. Large controls are easier to useChapter 16, 22
Do you have an induction cooktop (e.g., one that cooks only with magnetic pots or pans)?Prevent hot stove tops. Smmoth surface, easy to clean, cools down very quicklyChapter 16
Does your cooktop have a smooth surface?Smooth surface is easier to cleanChapter 16
Are all appliance doors easy to open?Chapter 16
Is there adequate space to safely and easily use all appliances?Proper space needed for using appliances safelyChapter 16

Flooring – Chapter 15

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Are all rugs safely secured to the floor?Preventing slipping on unstable rugsChapter 15
Do you avoid using throw rugs or area rugs in your home?Rugs can slip causing a fallChapter 15
If there is carpeting, is it low padding and low pile (e.g., not shag, etc.)?  Never a shag type!High carpeting are trip and fall hazards, and are difficult for a wheelchair to moveChapter 15
Is the flooring hard surface?Hard surface is usually less tripping hazard and is easier for a wheelchair to moveChapter 15
Is the flooring non-slip?Prevent slipping and fallsChapter 15
Is there a contrasting means to easily identify where a stairway or step begins?Contrast color will indicate a change in elevation, i.e. stepsChapter 15
Is there flooring that has high contrast colors, NOT at a step or stairs?High contrast colors indicate a change in elevation, can cause tripping on level floorsChapter 15

Kitchen – Chapter 16

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Are the faucets single handle or two handle?Single handle are usually easier to useChapter 16
Does the flooring in the kitchen help prevent slips and falls?Hard surface is saferChapter 16
Is the kitchen free of rugs?Different floor surfaces can trip and cause a fallChapter 16
For individuals usingwheelchairs, are the pipes under sinks insulated and padded?Prevent contact with hot or cold pipes, also prevent legs from rubbing on rough pipesChapter 16
Are cabinets and drawers easy to open, with “D” type handles or deep recessed pulls?Allow for easy use, prevent fingers from being tangled in a knob.  Knobs or handles with ends can cause clothes to catch.Chapter 16
Are the control knobs for your stove and oven in a safe location?Easy to use without reaching over applianceChapter 16
If you need to use a step stool in the kitchen, does it have side handrails?Prevent fallsChapter 16
Do you avoid using chairs, stools or other unsafe items to stand on to get items out of your reach?Preventing fallsChapter 16
Is there an anti-scald faucet in the kitchen?Prevent scalding from hot waterChapter 16
Do you have pull-out shelves or drawers inside your cabinets to allow easy access to items stored inside all cabinets?Easy to reach all items without bending and reachingChapter 16
Are the countertops and sinks at a height that makes use easy and safeEase of usesChapter 12, 16
Do the counter tops have smooth edges?Rough edges can cause abrasions.  Grout joints are hard to clean properlyChapter 12, 16
Are the colors of the countertops light and of consistent appropriate for the user?Dark colors are hard to see, especially at night.  Multi-color surfaces can hide foodChapter 12, 16
Are the countertops high gloss finish?High gloss surfaces can cause reflections making it difficult to see itemsChapter 12, 16

Furniture & Televisions – Chapter 17

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Are furniture and televisions secured to walls to prevent accidental tipovers?Falling can cause injuriesChapter 17

Bedrooms – Chapter 18

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Is the bed height appropriate for you?Wrong height can be difficult to useChapter 18
Is there a means of supplemental heat or air conditioning in the bedroom forquick changes in temperature or different temperature than the rest of the home?Quick adjustment of temperature for the occupant  is saferChapter 18, 43
Is there a grab bar, grab bar or ceiling-mounted trapeze to assist getting out of bed installed?Getting up or down can be dangerousChapter 18

Bathrooms – Chapter 19

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Is the toilet at a height that is safe and easy to get on or off it?Too low is difficult, most new toilets are at seat heightChapter 19
Is there an adequate number of grab bars in the bathrooms? Have the locations of the grab bars been determined by a medical or construction specialist?Grab bars can prevent falls Improper placement can be dangerousChapter 19
Are the faucets easy to use?Chapter 19
Does the flooring in bathrooms help prevent slips and falls?Chapter 19
 For individuals using wheelchairs, are the pipes under sinks insulated and padded?Prevent contact with hot or cold pipes, also prevent legs from rubbing on rough pipesChapter 19
Is there adjustable height shower head that can be removed for use? Is it mounted on a grab bar?Chapter 19
Is there a bath seat or bench in the bathtub or shower?Chapter 19
Are cabinets and drawers easy to open, even for an individual with arthritic hands?Chapter 19
Is there an anti-scald faucet installed in every bathroom and for shower controls?Chapter 19
Are the countertops and sinks at a height that makes use easy and safe?Chapter 19
Are grab bars located in areas to help prevent falls and transferring to toilets or other seats / benches?Chapter 19
Are all towel bars and toilet paper dispensers replaced with securely mounted grab bars?Chapter 19
For individuals with limited arm capabilities, is there a bidet or bidet seat installed to help with daily hygiene?Chapter 19
If needed, is there a low- or zero-entry shower in place, or is there a walk- or slide-in bathtub in place?Chapter 19
If you have a walk- or slide-in bathtub, do you have a means for supplemental heat (e.g., infrared lights, etc.)?Chapter 19
Is there a fan-operated vent or a window that can open in the bathroom?Chapter 19
If there is a fan-operated vent in the bathroom, is it controlled by an electronic timer?Chapter 7, 19
Is there a medical alert device in the bathroom located where it can be easily reached in case of a fall or other emergency?Chapter 19, 43
Is there a mirror in the bathroom that will allow you to tilt it down or up?Chapter 19
Can you hear the doorbell, smoke or carbon monoxide alarm in your bathroom?Chapter 19
Do you have a telephone in your bathroom?Chapter 19
Is there a place to store additional goods near the toilet (e.g., toilet paper, catheterization supplies, wipes, other medical supplies)?Chapter 19
Is there enough space under the toilet for someone in a wheelchair to navigate to the toilet?Chapter 19

Common Areas – Chapter 20

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Are all passageways clear of goods for safe walking or maneuvering of a wheelchair/walker?Chapter 20
Is there adequate lighting in all passageways?Chapter 8, 20
Are items easily accessible in closets (e.g., pull down shelves or hanger rods)?Chapter 20
Is there adequate space in common areas to allow a wheelchair or walker to navigate?Chapter 20

Living & Family Room – Chapter 21

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Chapter 21

Laundry Room – Chapter 22

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Are the controls for washers and dryers conveniently located?Chapter 22
Is it easy to use an ironing board?Chapter 22
Are all items easily accessible in the laundry room?Chapter 22

Basement – Chapter 23

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Chapter 23

Home Office – Chapter 24

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Chapter 24

Hand & Arm Assist Devices – Chapter 25

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Chapter 5

Stairs, Ramps & Guards – Chapter 26

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Are the stairs always clear of items?Chapter 26
Can you easily see where a stair or step starts?Chapter 26
Is there a light switch and the top and bottom of all stairs?Chapter 26
Are the stairs well illuminated?Chapter 26
Are there handrails on both sides of the stairs?Chapter 26
Are all stairs in good and safe condition?Chapter 26
If you need a ramp, does it have a grade of 1:12 (that being 1 inch rise for every 12 inches of horizontal run) or preferably less (e.g., 1:18”).Chapter 26
If the ramp is long or does it have a turn, is there a flat area where you can stop safely?Chapter 26
Is the person using a stairlift capable of transferring independentlyand steadily to a walker or wheelchairChapter 26

Whole House Systems – Chapter 27

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Do you know the locations of the water main, natural or propane gas shutoffs, and the circuit breaker/fuse panel?Family SafetyChapter 27
Is there a telephone in each room, especially near a bed?Chapter 27

Fire Safety – Chapter 28

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Are fire extinguishers easily accessible in the kitchen, garage, laundry and utility areas and any room with a fireplace or heating stove?FiresChapter 28
Do you know how to properly use a fire extinguisher in case of an emergency?FiresChapter 28
Are your fire extinguishers less than 12 years old?FiresChapter 28
Do all bedrooms have a smoke alarms, and are there ones in hallways or common areas of each floor?Overall Family SafetyChapter 28
Have all smoke alarms been replaced if they are over 10 years old?Overall Family SafetyChapter 28
If there is a source of heat that requires the use of combustible materials (wood, natural gas, propane, etc.) in or near the home, are there carbon monoxide alarms installed?Overall Family SafetyChapter 28
Have all carbon monoxide alarms been replaced as per the manufacturer’s instructions (typically 5 or 7 years)?Overall Family SafetyChapter 28
Do you replace all smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm batteries, vacuum out and test the detectors on an annual basis?Overall Family SafetyChapter 28
Have halogen torch lights been removed or discarded?Burns or Fire RiskChapter 28
Do you have an electronic timer to limit the duration of cooking on a stove?Chapter 28
Is a fire and emergency preparedness and escape plan in place?Overall Family SafetyChapter 28
Do upper floors have an escape route (ladder, balcony, a safe shallow roof or a safe surface to walk on in case of an emergency, even in the winter or in wet weather)?Overall Family SafetyChapter 28
Have you practiced the escape plan with all family members/caregivers?Overall Family SafetyChapter 28
Do your electric items, especially space heaters, have UL, CSA or ETL approval, and do you use them as per manufacturer’s instructions (e.g., distance away from combustible items, etc.)Burns or Fire RiskChapter 28

Security In & Outside The Home – Chapter 29

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Do you have motion sensing lights to let the outside world know someone is inside?Chapter 29
Do you have a security system installed?Chapter 29
Do you have a medical alert system installed?Chapter 29
Does you cellphone have a banner to indicate who to call in case of an emergency?Chapter 29
Do you have a camera installed at your entrances or do you have an intercom system to let you know who is at the door?Chapter 29
Is the Poison Control Center’s phone number (800-222-1222) listed close to your home phone and programmed into your cell phone?Chapter 6

Indoor Environmental Hazards – Chapter 30

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Is there no noticeable mildew smell or mold present?Environmental HazardChapter 30
Has the home been tested for radon gas, and if high has it been mitigated?Environmental Hazard – RadonChapter 30
Do you avoid using candles, incense, perfumes and air fresheners around children?Breathing & Other Health HazardsChapter 30
Do you avoid exposure child to formaldehyde-containing items, like new paint or carpeting/rugs?Breathing & Other Health HazardsChapter 30
Do you avoid using an ionization air cleaner?Breathing & Other Health HazardsChapter 30
Do you run the oven self-cleaning cycle only when you are away from your home?Breathing & Other Health HazardsChapter 30
Was home built after 1978?Environmental HazardsChapter 30
If your home was built before 1978, have you had painted and stained surfaces tested for lead and done things to properly seal the lead surfaces or remove the lead safely?Environmental Hazard – LeadChapter 30
If your home was built before 1978, if your ceiling has a “popcorn” texture, is it free of asbestos? Are there other potential sources of asbestos in the home?  Has the asbestos been properly remediated?Environmental Hazard – AsbestosChapter 30
Are floor vents secure and not easily removed by a child?Lacerations or CutsChapter 30
Do you periodically check children toys to ensure they are in good condition and that small items won’t become detached?Child SafetyChapter 30


Exterior Ramps & Other Conveyance Means – Chapter 31

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
If you need a ramp, does it have a grade of 1:12 (that being 1 inch rise for every 12 inches of horizontal run) or preferably less (e.g., 1:18”).Chapter 31
If the ramp is long or does it have a turn, is there a flat area where you can stop safely?Chapter 31
If the ramp has a turn, is the platform at least 4 feet X 4 feet or more in size?Chapter 31
Does the ramp have a means to help keep a wheelchair on the ramp and does it have railings on both sides?Chapter 31
Is there a short threshold going in and out of the house to the ramp?Chapter 31
Is the ramp located in a place where the sun can help melt snow or more quickly dry water, or is the ramp inside a garage?Chapter 31
Is it easy to clear the ramp of snow?Chapter 31

Garages – Chapter 32

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Is there adequate space for using a wheelchair or walker inside the garage and around a vehicle?Chapter 34
Is the overhead garage door high enough to accommodate a full sized van or other larger vehicle?Chapter 34

Decks, Patios & Entry Ways – Chapter 33

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Are all exterior access ways into the home (porches, doorways, garage entries, sidewalks, etc.) well lit?Chapter 33
Are the walkways leading into the home flat and reasonably level and in good condition?
Do you have handrails on both sides of the steps?Chapter 33
Can you easily identify who is at your door without opening it?Chapter 33

Yards & Gardens – Chapter 34

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Chapter 34

Vehicles – Chapter 35

Do you always remove items inside the vehicle that may pose a hazard in a crash or an abrupt stop?InjuriesChapter 35
Do you always check around your vehicle prior to getting in and moving it, or does your vehicle have a backup camera?Vehicle backoversChapter 35
Do you have a safety survival kit in each vehicle?SafetyChapter 35


Medical Issues – Chapter 36

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Is information about your family, insurance and other emergency numbers and information posted in a place so all can easily see, including babysitters?  Do you include the age and weight of the child as well as the date the weight was measured?Family SafetyChapter 26

Memory / Cognitive Issues – Chapter 37

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Chapter 36

Wheelchair & Walker Issues – Chapter 38

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Chapter 38

Bariatric Individuals – Chapter 39

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Chapter 39

Psychological Issues of Living In Place – Chapter 40

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Chapter 40

Common Physical Issues – Chapter 41

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Chapter 41

Financial Issues – Chapter 42

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Chapter 42

Special Circumstances – Chapter 43

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Chapter 43

Building A New Home – Chapter 4

ItemConcernYes / N/ANoGo To
Siting XhklkChapter 4