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Keep Homes Safe for Visiting Kids

Childless households more likely to have guns, household chemicals in unlocked storage

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 22, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Guns and poisonous materials are more likely to be improperly stored in homes where young children are only visitors, says a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study.

The survey of 1,003 U.S. homes found that household chemicals were stored in places accessible to children in 74 percent of homes where children were only visitors, compared with 55 percent of homes where children lived.

It also found that guns were kept unlocked in 56 percent of homes where children visited, compared with a third of homes where children lived.

Overall, the odds of reported unlocked storage of chemicals and guns were 2.5 times greater in homes where young children visited than in homes where young children lived.

The study appears in the January issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

"With the holidays approaching, people need to be much more careful in keeping potentially lethal compounds and firearms safely secured. Every year, preventable tragedies happen because people forget how children like to explore and get into things and how vulnerable they are to accidents," study author Dr. Tamera Coyne-Beasley, an associate professor of pediatrics and medicine, said in a prepared statement.

In 2001, there were 233 accidental firearm injuries and 93,703 accidental poisonings among U.S. children under age 6.

More information

The National Safe Kids Campaign has more about childhood injuries.

SOURCE: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, news release, Dec. 15, 2004
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