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Five ways to keep kids safe inside the home

By Jessica Smith
MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Kids spend a lot of time indoors, and while that inactivity contributes to a lack of exercise, it also can cause other kinds of health problems.

David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, suggested five important tips for keeping the home environment healthy.

“The indoor environments where children spend most of their time can affect their physical, mental, social and emotional development,” Buys said. “That is why parents and caregivers of young children should keep their kids safe. Cooler weather is coming, and that will mean more time indoors for most people, so now is a good time to take stock of how safe one’s home really is.”

Buys said there are five practices parents should follow around the house:             

  1. Store hazardous chemicals out of the reach of children. Poisons should be properly labeled.
  2. Maintain adequate air quality. Avoid the dangers of secondhand smoke, and keep homes well ventilated and dust free.
  3. Check for harmful mold and mildew. Clean it right away. Then, look for leaks in the roof, poor drainage and poor ventilation in bathrooms.
  4. Inspect the house for pests. If any are found, look for the source.  Do not leave food out in the house or leave any openings or cracks in walls and doors.  Be sure to store food in pest-free containers.
  5. Practice fire safety. Install smoke detectors with fresh batteries. Always keep fire extinguishers on hand.  A good time to change batteries is when a new seasons starts or the clock shifts from daylight savings to standard time.

“These steps will not guarantee an accident-free indoor environment, but they could certainly limit the risks of unintended problems,” Buys said. “Our children are our future. What is more important: our convenience in having chemicals close at hand or children’s health and safety?”

Susan Cosgrove, Extension agent in Newton County, said Extension offers different workshops focusing on these dangers.

“Everyone is very busy, and we may not recognize our familiar home environment as a potentially hazardous place,” Cosgrove said. “That’s why the MSU Extension Service is offering workshops on a variety of topics related to hidden dangers lurking in houses, apartments, businesses and workplaces.”

The Healthy Homes Initiative offers interactive workshops that focus on how to create and maintain healthy homes. These sessions offer science-based information on a variety of topics, from lead to hazardous household chemicals. Call the local Extension office or visit http:www.extension.msstate.edu/hhi to request more information.

Released: October 10, 2016
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Asst Extension/Research Prof
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