The best way to protect your child from injury and
death due to firearms is to keep your home free of
guns and avoid exposing your child to households where guns are
kept. If you do own a firearm - or if relatives or the parents
of your children's playmates do - protect your child by
ensuring that these rules are followed in your own home and in any
home your child visits:
- Store guns in a securely locked case out of children's
reach. All firearms should be stored unloaded and in the uncocked
- Store ammunition in a separate place and in a securely locked
container out of children's reach.
- 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
children that guns aren't toys and should never be played
- Take a firearm safety course to learn the safe and correct
way to use your firearm.
- Lock up gun-cleaning supplies, which are often
If you're expecting a baby or you already have a child,
it's a good idea to:
- Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the Heimlich
- Keep the following numbers near the phone (for yourself and
- toll-free poison-control number
- child's doctor's number
- parents' work and cell phone numbers
- neighbor's or nearby relative's number (if you need
someone to watch other children in an emergency)
- Make a first-aid kit and keep emergency instructions
- Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
Maintaining a Safe, Kid-Friendly Environment
To check your childproofing efforts, get down on your hands and
knees in every room of your home to see things from a child's
perspective. Be aware of your child's surroundings and what
might be potentially dangerous.
Completely childproofing your home can be difficult. If you
can't childproof the entire house, you can shut the doors (and
install doorknob covers) to any room a child shouldn't enter to
prevent wandering into places that haven't been properly
childproofed. For sliding doors, doorknob covers and childproof
locks are also great for keeping little ones from leaving your
home. Of course, how much or how little you childproof your home is
up to you. Supervision is the very best way to help prevent kids
from getting injured. However, even the most vigilant parent
can't keep a child 100% safe at all times.
Whether you have a baby, toddler, or school-age child, your home
should be a haven where your little one can explore safely.
After all, touching, holding, climbing, and exploring are the
activities that develop your child's body and mind.
Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: November 2007
Originally reviewed by:
Barbara P. Homeier, MD
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice,
diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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