Life with Growing Kids

As children grow and develop, they become more independent and are exposed to a variety of new surroundings. Here are a few tips to help keep children healthy and safe.

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Overview

+ Caring for Kids Responsibly

Supervising Children & Substance Use

If you use alcohol, marijuana, or prescription medication, ensure your children always have a safe and responsible caregiver. A person may be too drunk, high or medicated to be able safely care for and supervise children, or respond effectively in a crisis.

  • Practice Safe Storage – All alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, medications, drugs and hazardous household chemicals (including detergent pods) should be stored in their original packaging and in a locked cabinet, out of sight and out of reach of children. In the event of accidental ingestion of any substance or hazardous chemical contact poison control immediately (1-800-222-1222) or call 911.
  • Cars & Driving – Do not drive while impaired, and do not let your child ride in a car with anyone who is impaired. Alcohol, drugs, medication, sleep deprivation, and medical issues can all impair one’s ability to drive safely.
  • Know the Risks – Engaging in illegal activities, using street drugs, or abusing legal substances puts your child at additional risk.

Find Trustworthy Caregivers

Make sure that anyone caring for your children:

  1. Interacts with them, providing developmentally appropriate care and supervision
  2. Is prepared to respond effectively in any crisis
  3. Is knowledgeable about key aspects of child care for your kid's age.

Whether you're looking for a regular child care provider or someone to help out here and there, here are some good questions to ask to make sure your child will be safe and well cared for in your absence. Consider maturity and development level when leaving your children in the care of siblings, relatives, friends, and babysitters.

+ Tips for Raising Healthy Kids

Below are key ways to ensure your kids' healthy development:

  • Show Your Love – Love and nurturing is a critical part of bonding and brain development. Take a little extra time every day to connect and engage with your children-snuggle, sing, talk, smile, read, love.
  • Stay Up to Date on Parenting & Child Development – Parenting is part natural and part learned. Talk to friends, family, and your child’s pediatrician about your child’s growth and development. Take a class or read about raising children and what they can do at different ages.
  • Talk to Your Kids – Teach children about general safety, hazards, and things to avoid in your home and when they are at school, religious and extra-curricular activities, as well as in friends’, relatives’, and neighbors’ homes. Make sure children know how to call for help and what to do in case of a fire or other emergency.
  • Have "the Conversation" – Don’t be afraid to to talk to your children about difficult subjects – substance use, interpersonal relationships, sexual exploration, online activity, bullying, body awareness and safety. It may seem like your child is too young, but most children start to hear about all of these things in elementary school. Learn more at Speak Now.
  • Be an Askable Parent – Make sure you are open and available for your children when they are ready to talk or ask questions. Watch for teachable moments.
  • Promote Stability – Provide consistent routines around meals, naps, and bedtimes. Teach your children about feelings, model expected behavior, and help them learn problem solving skills.

+ Self-Care & Support

  • Take Care of Yourself – Reenergize yourself, whatever that means to you-walk, dance, laugh, exercise, take a bath, read, manage stress, share your feelings, spend time with friends and family. If you use alcohol, marijuana, or prescription medication, ensure your children always have a safe and responsible caregiver.
  • Build a Support System – Surround yourself with people that help out and provide emotional support on a daily basis and in times of need. Join a playgroup, support group or faith community. Get involved in your neighborhood, community or school.

+ Information & Resources

American Academy of Pediatrics - Information and advice for raising kids ages 5-12 years old.

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids - Resources for families struggling with their child's substance abuse.

Safe Kids Worldwide - Safety information for kids ages 5-9.

Safe Kids Worldwide - Safety information for kids ages 10-14.

Speak Now Colorado - Tips for talking about alcohol and drugs with your pre-teen.

Ask for Help

Feeling overwhelmed? Worried about your child’s health, development, or behavior? Don’t be afraid to call your child’s health care provider or ask for help.

Call 1-800-CHILDREN (244-5373) or 1-866-LAS-FAMILIAS (527-3264) for free, confidential help finding drug treatment, parenting support, medical care, social and family service agencies, and many other resources. Learn more.

Related Topics

 

Substance Use & Growing Kids

Click on a substance to learn more.

Alcohol

All alcohol should be stored in the original packaging and in a locked cabinet out of sight and out of reach of children. Remember, this may also include those products being stored in the refrigerator.

Tobacco

Cigarettes and tobacco products should be stored away from children. E-cigarette and liquid nicotine in particular should be locked up, out of sight, and out of reach of children. These items have particular appeal because of the taste and smells associated with flavored products.

Marijuana

All marijuana and marijuana products should be stored in their original packaging and in a locked cabinet out of sight and out of reach of children. This includes edible marijuana products such as brownies, cookies, and other edible products that may appeal to children or be similar to regular food products. Don’t forget marijuana products being stored in the refrigerator.

 

Street Drugs

Street drugs are of particular concern for you and your children. Street drugs should not be stored in homes with children. If they are, ensure they are locked up, out of sight, and out of reach of children.

Household Chemicals

Hazardous household chemicals should be stored in a locked cabinet or in one that is not accessible to children, such as one with safety latches. This includes those items which may have a particular appeal to small children including detergent pods, clorox tablets, and other cleaning products.

Medications

All medications, vitamins, and supplements should be stored in the original container and in a locked box whenever possible. When a locked box is not available, medications should be stored in the original container and out of the reach of children<em>.</em> This may include those medications, vitamins, and supplements being stored in the refrigerator.