Five ways to keep your kids safe in and near your home

From the moment our children enter this world, we constantly worrying about their safety. We make sure their seatbelts are on before we drive, we don’t let them run with scissors, we let them know jumping off roofs with umbrellas won’t always allow us to fly, and we won’t allow them to skateboard without their helmets.

These are the obvious steps to safety for most parents, but what about the less obvious dangers that surround our kids everyday?

1. Prepare your family for a fire. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 3,500 Americans dies each year in fires and approximately 18,300 are injured. You can take simple steps to prevent fire in your house. First, make sure you have at least one working smoke alarm on each floor of your home. Test that it’s working and change the batteries at least twice per year. Don’t overload extension cords and circuits, use space heaters wisely, or avoid them all together. And create an escape plan with your family so that everyone is aware of what they need to do in case of a fire. Also, have a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen where most fires occur.

2. Keep the interior and exterior of your home well lit. Install motion detecting lights outside to prevent injury when coming home late and to deter burglars. Install timers on your lights so if you are arriving home late, you’re not stumbling through the dark to find the lights.

3. Know your neighbors. You can visit sites like Family Watchdog to see a detailed map of registered sex offenders near your home. While legally you can not take action against offenders, you can be more aware of the dangers in your neighborhood to keep your kids safe. Regardless of the type of neighborhood you live in, you always need to make sure your kids are either checking in with you regularly, are within a distance that you can see them at all times, or somewhere you know they are safe.

4. Have a recent photo of your kids with you. If something does happen and you can’t find your child, make sure you know what they were wearing and that you have a recent photo of your child. Check closets, under beds, inside vehicles, or any place a child can hide. Call their friends’ house to make sure they’re not there, then immediately call the police. Be prepared to provide your child’s name, date of birth, and any unique identifying characteristics, such as distinguishing marks, glasses, clothing, braces, etc. Many stores have a Code Adam in place, so make sure to notify someone immediately if your child is lost while shopping. Also request that your child’s information be relayed to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Once your child has been reported missing to the local authorities, call the Nation Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 800-THE-LOST (800-843-5678).

5. Avoid choking hazards. According to a 2008 study, the 10 foods that cause the most choking hazards are peanuts, hot dogs, popcorn, carrots, boned chicken, candy, meat, fish with bones, sunflower seeds and apples. Do not give these foods to children under the age of 4 or 5, and carefully watch your children when they eat. Consider taking a CPR class through the American Heart Association. More than 2,800 people die each year from choking and many of those are children.

All opinions expressed are my own. I have not been compensated for this post. This post was written by me using only the sources that I have cited. I have written this post as an entry for The Safest Parent Competition. I am eligible to win cash prizes with this entry.

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