Safe Storage for Suicide Prevention - Action for Healthy Kids
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Safe Storage for Suicide Prevention

 A critical part of preventing suicide includes reducing access to lethal means. As a caregiver, you play a vital role in creating a safe environment for your child.  

Lethal means are objects that could be used for a suicide attempt. Access to lethal means, such as firearms or medications, increases the risk of suicide. Studies show that reducing access to these means can save lives. 


Firearms are the most lethal means to suicide. Ensure that firearms are securely locked in a gun safe, with ammunition stored separately in a locked box. When possible, move firearms out of the home to a safe place if your child is struggling with an active suicide risk. It could save your child’s life. 


Open access to medication can pose a significant risk to children and teens, especially when suicide risk is present. Medications should be kept in a locked cabinet or safe, with access limited to adults.  

Safely dispose of medications through local drug take-back programs or by following FDA guidelines for disposal. Regularly clean out medicine cabinets to remove expired or unused medications. Keep only a small number of pills accessible in each bottle. 

Limiting Access to Hazardous Substances

Store hazardous substances, such as cleaning agents and pesticides, securely in locked cabinets or areas inaccessible to those at risk to suicide. Consider using alternative, less toxic products when possible. 


Keep sharp objects in a locked cabinet or remove them from your home, when possible. Allow your child access to items such as razors only when their use is needed and when a caregiver is aware.  


The consumption of alcohol reduces impulse control and increases risk to suicide. Lock up or remove alcohol from your home.  

Limiting Access to Screens and Protecting Sleep

Poor sleep can increase a child’s risk to suicide because it affects their regulation, decision-making, and impulse control. Protect your child’s sleep time by limiting your child’s phone use to create a healthy sleep environment. 

Take proactive steps today to reduce access to lethal means and protect those you care about.

For more information on suicide prevention, safe storage practices, and support services, visit Counseling on Access to Lethal Means | Zero Suicide and Means Matter.


This project on Improving Mental, Behavioral and Academic Supports to Students and Families, Part 2 is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $434,555 with 100 percent funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.