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While we consider our homes to be safe and private places for our family, many accidents happen to occur or around the house. From burns to falls to choking, animal bites and more, there are a number of dangers that are often discounted when we consider how to make our homes safe places for those who we love. Most home injuries are preventable, so it is important to educate yourself concerning the most common dangers and to take the necessary steps to protect your children by keeping common hazards out of reach and teaching them how to be safe.
Common Household Hazards
Following an accident at home, most parents quickly see how they could have prevented an injury. It is important to anticipate all of the things that could go wrong in your home and to have a clear plan concerning how to limit your children’s risks and what to do in the event of an emergency. Some of the most common household hazards include the following.
- Heat and flames— burns are one of the leading causes of child deaths and many of them can be avoided with the right amount of care. From playing with fire to being exposed to scalding water, there are many ways children can be burned. It is important that you teach your children about the dangers of fire and how to treat minor burns while creating an emergency plan for more serious accidents.
- Toxic substances— many of the household cleaners that we rely on to keep our homes tidy and sanitary are inviting to curious children. It is important that you not only lock these substances up, but that you also explain to children that are able to understand just why these chemicals are not to be played with.
- Fall hazards— while it seems like a full time job, keeping your home free of clutter will keep your children safe. Many accidents are the result of a trip or fall involving toys, bikes or other objects that have been left out where they can cause a child to trip or stumble.
- Firearm hazards— education is the most effective tool for the reduction of child firearm deaths. Most children who play with guns are not aware of what they are capable of, which is why you need to speak with your child about guns even if you do not own any. Should they encounter a gun in your home or at a friend’s house, they need to know to leave and tell an adult as soon as possible.
- Choking hazards— small toys, stuffed animals and certain foods can pose choking hazards to young children. You must make sure you are aware of your child’s surroundings and what he or she has access to, as it is common for infants to explore their surroundings by placing things in their mouths.
- Sharp objects— children should be prohibited from using scissors, knives or any tool with a sharp edge unless under the direct supervision of an adult. These objects should be stored in locked locations where children are unable to gain access.
Educating your child on the different hazards in the home and what to do in an emergency is the best way to both prevent accidents and to ensure that he or she knows exactly what is expected in the event of an emergency or accident. It is important to review all possible scenarios with your family and to devise specific actionable plans on how to respond to danger.
Your children should also have access to emergency phone numbers such as 9-11 and Poison Control along with your work and cell phone numbers. It is best to put these numbers in a location that is easy to reach and view. For more information on home safety, you can refer to the following resources.