Need to talk? Call 1800 882 436.
It's a free call with a maternal child health nurse. *call charges may apply from your mobile

Is it an emergency? Dial 000
If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately.

beginning of content

Keeping baby safe

9-minute read

If you’re reading this because there is an emergency, then stop and call triple zero (000). The people you speak to can guide you to provide first aid.

How common are injuries around the home?

Every parent wants to keep their baby safe from harm. But it can be hard to know how to protect small children who can be most at risk. Unfortunately, studies have shown that the most common place for any injury to occur is in the home.

Each year, almost 70,000 Australian children (aged 0 to 14 years) are hospitalised and about 150 children die as a result of unintentional injuries or accidents.

What types of injuries and accidents can happen?

Injuries to children happen because of hazards — which is anything that can cause harm. The best way to avoid injury is to spot hazards and remove or make changes so a child doesn’t get hurt. Use the Kidsafe home safety checklist to help keep your home safe.

It’s impossible to guard against every hazard in every situation. However, your child will be safer and you’ll feel more relaxed if you know they’re in a safe environment. It can be very useful for parents to do a first aid course so they know what to do if their child is hurt or there is an emergency.

Most injuries to children can be grouped into categories.


Falls are the most common cause of injuries to children, though can be prevented.


  • Using a harness in a pram and high chair.
  • Supervising a child when changing their nappy, when they’re on a bed or likely to climb.
  • Placing gates or barriers at stairs.
  • Using corner protectors on tables.
  • Using rug grips and avoiding highly polished, slippery floors.

Preventing falls

Guide to preventing your baby having falls.


Drowning is the lead cause of death for children less than 5 years of age, mostly in swimming pools.


  • Supervise children near water.
  • Never leave your baby unattended in the bath, at the beach or in a pool.
  • Learn resuscitation and take a class in first aid.
  • Cover dog bowls containing water, put the toilet lid down and don’t leave buckets of water lying around.
  • Cover ponds with a grill.

Read more about water safety for babies.


Children are naturally curious and don’t understand that poisons and chemicals could harm them.


  • Store poisons and chemicals in a locked cupboard.
  • Use child resistant locks on cupboards.
  • Lock away medication.
  • Store medications in their original packaging.
  • Read labels before giving any medication to your child. If in doubt, speak with a pharmacist.
  • Call the Poisons Information Hotline on 13 11 26.

Read more about medicine and poison safety in the home.

Burns and scalds

Young children can be burned and scalded very quickly. Children aged under 5 are at most risk.


  • Keep hot food and drinks away from children.
  • Use the back elements of the stove and turn pot handles inwards.
  • Use a hot water tempering device to control water temperature to a maximum of 50°C.
  • Run cold water first and last when bathing your child.
  • For burns and scalds — let cool water run over the skin for at least 20 minutes. Remove clothing immediately. Never use butter, oil or ice on the skin.

Read more about first aid for burns and scalds.

Choking and suffocation

Check your home, and wherever your child is, for small items which could cause choking.


  • Stay with your child when they’re eating.
  • Avoid giving your child hard, small pieces of food.
  • Check toys are safe and don’t contain button batteries, or small parts, such as button eyes or loose ties.
  • Keep plastic bags out of reach.
  • Tie up blind cords, or use a shortening device to keep cords at least 1600 mm above the floor.
  • Be up to date on first aid so you can provide immediate support.


Experts report that around 75% of the electrical injuries to children happen at home.


  • Use safety switches.
  • Unplug electrical appliances when they’re not being used.
  • Use plug-in covers for power points.
  • Avoid using a wall mounted heater in the bathroom.

Finger jams

Finger jam injuries happen when fingers are crushed in the hinge side of doors.


  • Check your child’s fingers are clear of a closing door.
  • Use a wedges or catches to keep internal doors from slamming shut.
  • Use safety strips on hinge side of doors which need to be closed.


Toys which are broken or not age appropriate can be risky.


  • Check toys regularly to make sure they’re intact.
  • Throw away toys which have become brittle or with sharp edges.
  • Choose toys which comply with the Australian Safety Standard.
  • Use toys which are sturdy and are suitable for your child’s age and stage of development.

Read more about how to choose safe toys for your child.

Dog bites

Any dog is capable of biting a child, even a loved and trusted family dog.


  • Supervise your child around animals and pets.
  • Choose a family dog which is a safer breed. Dogs which are trained to hunt, herd or shepherd are bred to specific conditions, not as domestic pets.
  • Teach your child to be respectful of dogs and not pat them unless checking first with the owner.
  • Supervise your child when they’re around a dog.

Read more about having pets in the home.

Outside the home


  • Know where your child is and who they’re with.
  • Check for hazards in your yard, garage and sheds.
  • Check play equipment for safety and that it is stable and secure.
  • Supervise your child when they’re playing outside.



  • Take keys out of the car ignition and store them in a safe place.
  • Supervise your children when they are near a car.
  • Block access to the driveway from the house.
  • Hold your child’s hand when they are around cars.

Farm accidents


  • Store tools, chemicals and equipment in locked sheds.
  • Make silos inaccessible.
  • Lock up firearms in a safe and store ammunition separately.
  • Dress young children in bright colours so they can be easily seen.

Read more about rural safety.

How do I learn about first aid at home?

It's important to be able to quickly provide first aid to your child at home.

Keeping a first aid kit in your home and in your car means you always have easy access.

You should also take a first aid and CPR course so you feel confident about doing what you can before help arrives.

There are many organisations which run first aid courses:

How do I learn about product safety and recalls?

Any products made or sold in Australia need to meet certain guidelines. These products can include clothing, toys, furniture, car seats and food and drink.

Parents are able to check out the latest product recalls issued from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission relating to children's clothing, toys, furniture, food and other products.

The Product Safety Australia site has a list of all recalls and you are also able to subscribe to email notifications or follow them on social media for the latest recalls.

Each recall lists the name of the product, what the issue is and how to return the product along with the relevant contact details.

Product Safety Australia also has a comprehensive guide to buying baby and kids products, including toys, clothing and furniture.

To find out more, visit Product Safety Australia at

Who should I contact in an emergency?

Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance if your child is not breathing, has lost consciousness or has life threatening injuries. Any emergency situation which involves a sudden illness or injury is the time to call an ambulance. Remember, your most important job in an emergency could be to ring for help.

Speak to a maternal child health nurse

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: April 2022

Back To Top

Need more information?

Baby safety

All parents want to keep their baby safe. Find out the essentials like keeping your baby safe in your home, around water, out in the sun and when out and about in the car.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Baby slings & carriers | Product Safety Australia

Babies can suffer a range of injuries from incorrectly used or damaged slings and carriers. Make sure the product you buy is suitable for both you and your baby, and is made of heavy duty, well-wearing materials.

Read more on Product Safety Australia website

Safe baby furniture checklist | Raising Children Network

Safe baby furniture and baby equipment protects your baby. When choosing cots, highchairs, change tables, safety gates and more, look for AS/NZS standards.

Read more on website

How to swaddle your baby

Swaddling can help calm a baby and while it is fairly easy to do, there are a few rules to follow for your baby’s safety.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Household cots | Product Safety Australia

Babies can suffer serious injuries when trying to climb out of cots. Make sure you buy a cot that meets the mandatory safety standard.

Read more on Product Safety Australia website

Rocking cradles | Product Safety Australia

If using a rocking cradle for your baby, make sure that it has the appropriate safety features, such as a tilt limiter and child-resistant lock.

Read more on Product Safety Australia website

Baby walkers | Product Safety Australia

Infants can suffer serious injuries when unsupervised in baby walkers. Always keep an eye on your infant when they're using a baby walker and ensure hazardous areas in the house are blocked off.

Read more on Product Safety Australia website

Bassinettes | Product Safety Australia

Babies can be injured if a bassinette tips over, the bottom breaks or the folding legs collapse. Use our tips for buying and using bassinettes.

Read more on Product Safety Australia website

Baby carrier, sling & backpack safety | Raising Children Network

When choosing a baby carrier, sling or backpack, look for healthy hip positioning for your baby. Use the T.I.C.K.S. rule to position babies safely in slings.

Read more on website

Keeping baby safe - a guide to infant and nursery products | Product Safety Australia

The Keeping Baby Safe Booklet provides some easy steps you can take to ensure your baby remains safe in your home.

Read more on Product Safety Australia website

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.

This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, this publication or any part of it may not be reproduced, altered, adapted, stored and/or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Healthdirect Australia.