School-aged children 5 to 9 are big kids, compared to where they started. But they still are vulnerable to home accidents and poor choices that can cause disaster. In fact, unintentional injuries due to accidents are the leading causes of death for children 5 to 14, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
It’s hard to watch over your child all the time, especially if you work outside the home. Data from the 2011 census showed that more than 4 million children are left unsupervised for more than six hours every week. Many accidents and injuries can be prevented if your child knows the basics of child safety at home. Make sure you teach your child these top 10 home safety tips.
1. Call For Help
Teach children what constitutes an emergency – usually something involving blood, breathing or strangers – how to dial 9-1-1, and what to say when the dispatcher answers. Children should know their full names, complete address, and nearby landmarks to help direct first responders to their home.
2. Never Unlock
If they’re home alone, children should never unlock a door or window. If someone rings the doorbell, they should ask, “Who is it?” through the locked door. If it’s not someone they expect, they should say, “My mother can’t come to the door now. Please come back later.”
3. Mom’s Busy
Children should never tell a telemarketer they are home alone. Instead, they can say, “Mom is not available now,” then hang up.
4. Microwave Safety
Don’t let a child use the microwave or oven until he is tall enough to remove hot items safely and understand the dangers of steaming food.
5. Fire Dangers
Hide matches and lighters, and keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn, like drapes. Children and adults should never leave a lighted candle burning after they leave a room. Pets have been known to jump on counters and catch – and spread – fire.
6. Fire Extinguisher Protocol
Place a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, make sure it is in working condition, and teach your child how to use it. Also, teach your child to “stop, drop, cover their face and roll” if their clothes catch fire.
7. Furniture Safety
Place anti-skid pads under rugs to keep them from slipping under running feet. Also, anchor televisions and heavy furniture to walls.
8. Smoke Hazard
Make sure smoke detectors have fresh batteries every six months. Also, consider installing a home security system with monitored smoke detectors.
9. Play Precautions
Surround play structures above the ground with shock-absorbing material, like wood chips and sand. Periodically check for loose bolts and rotten wood.
10. Gun Safety
Store guns and ammunition separately in locked cabinets or gun safes. Considering augmenting your home security system with “area of interest sensors” that will alert you when a door or cabinet is opened. And before allowing a small child to visit a friend, ask if there are guns in the house and how they are stored.