Every service member deserves a safe and secure home. With the prevalence of everyday accidents, especially those affecting children, it’s crucial for military parents to be vigilant about potential hazards. This article, in line with National Veterans and Military Families Month, draws upon the expertise of the Defense Centers for Public Health–Aberdeen to offer practical advice on establishing a hazard-free home.
Identifying and Mitigating Common Household Hazards
Jouelle Lamaute, a public health nurse, emphasizes the importance of regularly checking for hazardous items and ensuring they are securely stored away. The Consumer Product Safety Commission identifies the top five hidden household dangers as:
- Small, ingestible magnets.
- Recalled safety products including toys and furniture.
- Window-related hazards like blinds and cords.
- Risks of furniture tipping over.
- Dangers associated with pools and spas particularly drains with strong suction.
Lead Poisoning: A Critical Concern in Military Housing
Lead exposure poses serious risks, particularly to children and pregnant women, potentially affecting cognitive and behavioral development. Key sources of lead in homes include:
- Old lead pipes and plumbing fixtures.
- Lead-based paints in pre-1978 houses.
- Certain imported or antique toys and jewelry.
- Traditional pottery with lead-containing glazes.
Rebecca Hughes, an industrial hygienist, highlights the importance of proactive measures in identifying and addressing these risks.
Preventing Medicine and Household Poisonings
Hundreds of children are hospitalized annually due to accidental ingestion of household products. Essential prevention tips include:
- Educating children about common hazards using tools like the EPA’s “Household Hazards Hunt”.
- Proper medication dosing and storage.
- Keeping the Poison Control Center Hotline (1-800-222-1222) readily accessible.
Safe is Strong: Protecting Military Families
The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress focuses on the health and safety of military families, with a special emphasis on firearm safety. Dr. Stephen Cozza, a key figure in this initiative, stresses the importance of secure firearm storage in homes with young children.
Defense Health Agency: Championing Health and Housing Safety
The Defense Health Agency offers a comprehensive “Health and Housing” resource, providing valuable information and assistance to military families facing environmental hazards in their homes.
Closing: A Commitment to Safe and Healthy Military Housing
The Defense Centers for Public Health–Aberdeen and the Defense Health Agency are dedicated to ensuring the well-being of our nation’s service members and their families. By staying informed and vigilant, military families can create a safe, nurturing home environment.