Parents and caregivers are well informed about household dangers that require the basic preventative devices, namely outlet covers. This is great. Yet each year, other hidden dangers in the home send thousands of children to the emergency room.
Below, we have uncovered four deadly hidden dangers that may not come to mind immediately when you think about childproofing your home, and advise simple steps to prevent injury.
1. Cord strangle
About one child a month dies after becoming entangled in a window covering cord. Children can wrap the cords around their necks or can become entangled in looped cords, some of which may not be clearly visible.
To prevent window covering cord-strangulation use cordless or inaccessible cord window coverings. Child-safe window coverings are available for sale today.
2. Unanchored, unhinged
Visit any playground and you’ll find equipment built for children to climb. Children will climb anything, even in the home, if it means they can reach a toy, remote control or other desired item. In fact, every 24 minutes a child is sent to the ER after a television, a piece of furniture or an appliance falls on him.
What can you do to prevent a tragedy? Anchor furniture to the wall with inexpensive anti-tip devices, available at most hardware and baby stores. New furniture is sold with anti-tip devices. Only place TVs on furniture designed to hold a TV.
3. Poison prevention
While cabinet locks are among the more popular childproofing devices, parents and caregivers are sometimes unsure about what should be locked behind the door. Harsh-smelling chemicals tend to be more obvious. Newer, more innocuous products, such as liquid laundry packets and liquid nicotine may be overlooked.
Liquid laundry packets are soft, colorful and can resemble candy or toys to young children. Yet, the tiny packets contain highly concentrated, toxic detergent that can pose a risk of serious injury. Like the laundry packets, liquid nicotine used with e-cigarettes is sold in bright colors, and some in sweet flavors. Exposure to liquid nicotine can lead to nausea, serious health effects and death.
4. Button-size batteries
The tiny battery that powers your keyless remotes, calculators and other products frequently left in the open, can also pose a serious danger to your child. A child can swallow a button battery and suffer dangerous chemical burns in as little as two hours.
Identify the products in your home, car or purse with the tiny batteries and place them out of reach.
Kim Dulic, Public Affairs Specialist, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, [email protected]