How to Make Your Home Safe for Kids

Healthy Kids Healthy Colorado March 2014

Your home sweet home should also be a home safe home. 

Parents are constantly making their home a safe environment for their children -- from turning down the temperature on the water heater and using outlet covers, to buying carbon monoxide and fire alarms for every room. But other dangers lurk in some of our neighbors', relatives', and even our own homes.

Share these strategies for safe storage of items like marijuana infused edibles, prescription medication, guns, household chemicals and button batteries with other family members, friends and neighbors.

Marijuana edibles and prescription medication 

  • Marijuana edibles and prescription medications must be locked away in a secure place – a locked box is ideal.  If they are in your freezer, place them in hard-to-reach areas and in packaging that doesn’t allow a child to see that it looks like a treat.  Be sure your child knows not to eat anything without asking first.
  • Marijuana is being infused in all kinds of imaginable foods including brownies, cookies, candy bars, peanut butter cups, granola bars and gummy bears.  Make sure your children know not to eat these types of foods without asking an adult first – even at the homes of relatives or friends.
  • Symptoms of marijuana ingestion in children include included decreased levels of consciousness, sleepiness, imbalance, and breathing trouble.
  • Child-ingested pot can be dangerous, and can lead to invasive and expensive diagnostic efforts if caregivers are embarrassed or scared to mention the true cause.

Gun safety

Teach kids to follow these rules if they come into contact with a gun, no matter where they are: 

  • Stop what they're doing
  • Do not touch the gun
  • Leave the area where the gun is
  • Tell an adult right away
  • Discuss the differences between toy guns and real guns with your children, and the dangers real guns can cause.

If you do own a firearm, be sure that these rules are followed in your home (and, if applicable, the homes of relatives or friends that your child visits):

  • Store guns in a securely locked case out of kids' reach. All firearms should be stored unloaded and in the uncocked position.
  • Store ammunition in a separate place and in a securely locked container out of kids' reach.
  • Keep keys where kids can't find them.
  • Always use trigger locks or other childproof devices. Make revolvers childproof by attaching a padlock so that the cylinder can't be locked into place.
  • Always practice gun safety, and be sure to emphasize to kids that guns aren't toys and should never be played with.

Poison and prevention

  • Learn the toll-free nationwide poison control hotline number (1-800-222-1222) or keep it near every phone.  You can call them with any question, and they may help you decide if you need to seek medical attention or if you can stay home.
  • Read labels to find out what is poisonous. Unsafe household products include toilet cleaners, bleach, oven cleaners and dishwasher and detergent products. Other potential hazards include medicines, makeup, plants, toys, pesticides, art supplies and alcohol.
  • Never leave poisonous products unattended while in use. Many incidents happen when adults are distracted for a moment on the phone or at the door.
  • Store poisonous products up and out of children’s reach, not underneath the kitchen sink.

Button battery safety

  • Examine devices and make sure the battery compartment is secure.
  • Keep button batteries and devices that use them out of reach of small children if the battery compartments aren’t secure. Some parents have secured battery compartments with strong tape.
  • Go to the emergency room immediately if swallowing is suspected.
  • Call the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 202-625-3333 for additional treatment information.
  • Tell others about this threat and share these steps.
  • Read more about Poison Prevention.

Listen to Slacker on Alice 105.9 and Dr. Wang talk about marijuana