You walk through the front door, juggling grocery bags, your purse and toddler. You barely have the door closed when the phone rings; you quickly put everything down and scramble to answer it. While you’re distracted you didn’t noticed your son digging into your purse and popping the blood pressure pills that look just like candy.
That single moment could turn into your worst nightmare.
Yet we all get distracted — and we all assume that home is the safest place for our families, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Statistically, it is more likely for children to be injured at home than anywhere else.
But that doesn’t need to be the case. With a little extra precaution, it can be home-sweet-home for you and your kids. Here are seven common hazards that parents should take steps to prevent:
Choking: Food that isn’t cut into age-appropriate bites for babies and children is a prime hazard. But so are other household items, such as electrical cords, balloons or items from mom’s purse. Remove any temptations by picking them up or placing them out of sight and out of reach. Learn basic first aid practices ways to alleviate choking in case of an emergency.
Falling: A child’s fearlessness can be terrifying for parents. It’s important to utilize safeguards like safety gates or adding soft surfaces underneath play equipment to avoid injury. It’s a balancing act to teach your kids about their mobility limitations without cocooning them in bubble wrap. Prime targets for falls include: shopping carts, slides, countertops, household furniture and shelving.
Poisoning: Kids are curious; anything used by a parent intrigues them. Whether you’re scrubbing the tub, washing the windows or using perfume, they want to do it, too. Make sure to lock up the cabinets that house the colorful laundry soap pods, any cleaning agents, perfumes or hand sanitizers. Take this moment and finally save the Poison Control Center’s number into your phone, 1.800.222.1222.
Drowning: Children love playing in the water, whether it’s in the bathtub, your dog’s water dish or in an unattended bucket. Water is an attractive nuisance when kids are around. Should a child fall into the bucket or be left unattended in the tub, it can take only five to ten seconds for them to drown. Avoid the risk and never leave them alone and be sure to empty any buckets after use.
Burns: Items a parent drink,holds or touches are the very items your child wants desperately. They want to mimic mom and dad. To the best of your abilities, keep hot cups of coffee or tea and dangling cords from curling or flat irons out of sight and out of reach. Make it common practice to use the back burners on your stove to protect your little one from accidentally reaching up to grab a pot handle or touching a scalding hot surface.
Home appliances: Limit access to potential threats with the use of safety gates as well as keeping appliances closed so that your child doesn’t accidently get trapped and suffocate. Prime areas of concern include washing machines, dryers and refrigerators. Close the dishwasher every time. Leaving the door down leaves sharp utensils, like knives and forks, exposed. Remove stovetop knobs or keep children out of the kitchen to avoid them accidently turning on the gas, which could lead to a possible fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Take away the car keys. Should your child accidentally use the remote start in a closed garage, it’s a prime candidate for carbon monoxide poisoning.
Exercise equipment: Unplug and secure exercise equipment whenever not in use. Children left unattended on treadmills may not just fall but could be strangled by a dangling cord. Stationary bikes and free weights left out often lead to stuck, smashed or pinched fingers.