The Mississippi Alarm Association provides tips for keeping children safe at home.

As a parent, keeping your children safe is your most important job. And, as many moms and dads know, that job doesn’t end when you walk through the front door of your home.  It’s just the beginning.

Each year, more than 3.4 million children experience an unintentional injury in their homes. To help keep little ones safe, the Mississippi Alarm Association recommends these safety tips.

Keep dangerous items out of reach

The National Capital Poison Center reported that 52 percent of all poisoning victims in 2012 were under the age of 12. To ensure your children don’t become a part of the statistic, it’s important to take extra precautions to keep them away from dangerous household items.

Designate a cabinet or two that are only accessible by adults for potentially hazardous items. Common household products that could be fatal if ingested include cleaning supplies; medicine; alcohol; dishwasher and laundry detergent; and personal hygiene items such as perfume, mouthwash, nail polish and nail polish remover. To further reduce your child’s risk, install child-proof locks on each cabinet’s doors.

It’s also especially important to keep an eye on your prescription medication. According to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, every 10 minutes a young child in the U.S. is taken to the emergency room because of possible poisoning from swallowing a prescription or over-the-counter medicine. If you are taking medication, make sure to always secure the child-resistant cap before stowing it away in a medicine cabinet that is unreachable by children.

Childproof your home to avoid injury

Pay attention to the areas where potentially harmful objects in your home are kept as well as who has access to those areas. If you are a gun owner, it is crucial that you take extra steps to protect children from accidentally obtaining weapons. In a report by The New York Times, 84 percent of accidental gun deaths of children under the age of 15 occurred in their home or the home of an acquaintance or relative. Many of these deaths could have been avoided if the firearms had been safely stored by the gun owners. Guns should always be kept in a locked cabinet with the key out of reach of children. Never leave firearms around the house or try to hide them in closets or unlocked drawers.

To further ensure that your firearms don’t accidentally end up in the wrong hands, consider investing in smart home technology that allows you to monitor activity in areas of your home designated as off-limits. Smart home technology can notify you on your smart phone or tablet should someone enter a restricted area – perhaps a bedroom where a locked gun cabinet is stored.

Watch out for electrical and fire hazards
Electrical shocks can be avoided by equipping every outlet in your home with child safety covers that keep children from inserting items into the sockets. Unused adapters and cords should be kept out of reach so that children cannot chew or play with them. It’s also important to stress to children that water and electronics don’t mix and can be very harmful when combined. Take extra steps to ensure children are unable to reach electric appliances while they are in or near water.

Every day, more than 300 children under the age of 19 visit the emergency room for burn-related injuries. You can protect children from burns and home fires by never allowing them to start or be alone with an active heat source such as a stove, fireplace or grill. Children should not be permitted to cook, light candles or handle a lighter or matches without adult supervision.

Even if you take extra steps to prevent fire in your home, there is no guarantee that it won’t happen. To protect your loved ones from a deadly fire, make sure your home is equipped with working smoke alarms on each floor and outside of every sleeping area. It’s especially important to change the batteries of your alarms twice a year and to test them monthly. Also, talk to your children about how they can escape if a fire begins in your home and practice your escape plan as a family.

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