logo


From the Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Promote Healthy Homes

Bedrooms, Living Rooms, and Family Rooms

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Do not smoke or allow anyone else to smoke in your home
  • If your home was built before 1978:
  • Test your home for lead paint
  • Fix peeling or chipping paint using lead-safe work practices
  • Use safe work practices when painting, remodeling, and renovating to prevent spreading lead dust
  • Keep floors clear of electrical cords and clutter

Kitchens

  • Never use the stove or oven to heat the house
  • Use a range hood fan or other kitchen exhaust fan that vents outside
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Use safe cleaning and pest control products
  • Stop cockroaches, ants, and mice without pesticides:
  • Keep them out- seal openings to the outside and between rooms
  • Starve them- put away food, clean up, cover the trash and garbage
  • Deny them water- fix leaks and wipe up spilled water
  • When necessary, use closed baits, traps, and gels
  • Never use bug bombs

Bathrooms

  • Install grab bars next to the bathtub and shower
  • Use mats with nonslip rubber backs on bathroom floors
  • Clean up moisture and mold safely
  • Use a bathroom exhaust fan that vents outside

Attics

  • Check for water leaks from the roof
  • Ensure proper ventilation to prevent moisture that can promote mold growth
  • Seal gaps around roofing and attic openings to keep rodents and insects out
  • Clean up clutter to deny rodents and insects places to nest

Stairways and Halls

  • Fix loose or uneven steps and rails
  • Attach stairway carpet firmly to every step- or remove carpet and attach nonslip rubber stair treads
  • Keep stairs free of clutter
  • Install handrails on both sides of the stairs
  • Keep a working lightbulb in overhead lights in the hall and stairs

Basement, Crawl Space, Utility and Laundry Areas

  • Set hot water heater to 120 degrees to prevent burns
  • Change furnace/AC filter regularly
  • Have gas appliances and furnaces checked yearly to make sure they don’t release extra carbon monoxide
  • Make sure the clothes dryer vents outside
  • Test for radon. If there’s a high level, hire a specialist to eliminate the hazard

Outer Parts of House and Yard
Keep pests away:

  • Fix holes, cracks, and leaks on exterior of the house
  • Eliminate standing water and food sources
  • Keep trash can covered with a lid
  • Remove shoes before entering the house to keep dirt containing lead and other toxins outside
  • Maintain gutters, downspouts, and roof to prevent moisture from entering the home
  • Use safe work practices when painting, remodeling, or renovating a home built before 1978
  • If you have a septic tank or private well, properly maintain it to prevent illness
  • Be ready in case of disaster: have a kit for shelter in place and plan fire escape routes

Special Steps to Protect Children

  • Make sure cribs, playpens, and play equipment are safe
  • Keep cribs free of soft objects or loose bedding
  • Use cordless blinds and shades, or tie the cords out of reach of children
  • Place infants on their backs to sleep
  • Place safety covers on electrical outlets
  • Lock prescription and over-the-counter medications away from children and use childproof caps
  • Use stair gates at the top and bottom of stairs
  • Lock up products used for cleaning, car maintenance, gardening, and pest control
  • In you have a swimming pool, make sure you have proper fencing and gates around the pool
  • Complete a playground safety checklist if you have playground equipment in your yard
  • If a firearm is kept in the home, it should be stored unloaded and locked in a secure container- inaccessible to children

For more information, please visit www.cdc.gov/healthyhomes or www.surgeongeneral.gov