Pediatricians emphasize the importance of childproofing your home. Parents need to be educated on the common household dangers and the steps to actively take precautions to keep your baby safe. Accidents do not only happen at home though, and many children can get injured by hidden dangers that exist outside of the home. This incomplete list of hidden dangers can get you thinking about safety situations that you may not have realized can injure your child.
Recalls of toys and baby products by the manufacturer can make an unsafe condition if you continue to use a product. Always register products like cribs, strollers, car seats and swings so that you will be notified if the baby product is recalled.
Escalators are extremely dangerous causing over 10,000 injuries per year. Many people do not think about escalators as being something that is dangerous and some even let their children play on them. Most injuries are from people falling on the escalator but some people actually get entrapped after having their sandals, hands or feet get caught. For safety, know where the emergency shut off button is located, make sure your child ties his shoelaces before going on, hold the railing, face forward and step off the escalator when you exit.
Elevators can be a major danger especially older ones that may not have sensors that reopen a door that is closing when a child is in the doorway.
Button batteries can get caught in the esophagus and cause tissue damage and chemical burns from their electrical current. These button batteries are about the size of a nickel and are often found in watches, remote controls, ornaments, musical greeting cards and other electronic devices. If you think your child has swallowed a battery take him or her to the emergency room immediately.
Electrical outlets and cords should be something you focus on before your baby comes home for the first time. Electrical outlets are tempting for babies and toddlers who can want to see what they can stick inside, so keep them covered. Electrical cords can get wrapped around a baby’s neck or the cord can be pulled on causing a table lamp to fall down on top of the child.
Bounce houses are super popular to rent for backyard birthday parties. However, use proper supervision and only allow children of the same age and size play inside at the same time as many injuries happen every year in bounce houses. Inflatable climbing walls and inflatable slides have also caused injuries to children so be very cautious when your child is playing on any inflatable thing.
Shopping carts can be an unexpected danger usually when a child falls out. Falls from shopping carts are one of the leading causes of head injuries to children according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Remember that shopping carts in the parking lot can roll away if left unattended so never keep your baby in the shopping cart while you unpack groceries.
Exercise equipment causes over twenty thousand injuries a year to children under the age of fourteen. Stationary bikes, treadmills, stair climbers and free weights can hurt a child in many different ways, most often from the moving parts. The cords on machines can be a serious choking hazard so always unplug equipment when not in use. Store exercise equipment away if possible or put a safety gate around your exercise area.
Televisions and furniture tipping over can be one of the most dangerous situations for a child. Children commonly like to climb which can cause items to fall off the top of furniture or the entire dresser, book case, television stand, or television can fall. Over 10 children each year dies of furniture or televisions falling and crushing them, so take the proper safety precautions by strapping furniture and televisions to the wall so they can never fall over. Parents do not put toys or remote controls on top of television sets as this can encourage your child to climb. Furniture straps are sold at baby stores and these should be used to secure dressers, television stands, book shelves and other large furniture. Long screws can often be used to secure some types of smaller, lighter furniture to the wall but make sure the screw goes into the wall stud as a screw that is just in the drywall alone will not keep furniture from tipping over.
Glass topped tables are very dangers and should be removed from the home as kids could fall through the glass as it breaks.
Helmet and proper safety equipment not being used is a major hidden danger for children. Parents must provide for, teach, and insist that your child wear and use all the necessary safety gear including wearing a helmet when riding a bike or scooter.
Playgrounds at public parks can vary widely in terms of design and maintenance. Many public playgrounds are in disrepair and can have large safety problems that can seriously injure a child. Older playgrounds often have outdated equipment and equipment with less safety features. Fully inspect the playground and watch out for areas where your child can fall. Be aware that falls are one of the leading causes of injuries on the playground.
When traveling watch for dangers in the hotel and childproof your room.
Childproof your swimming pool by enclosing it with a fence that has a self-closing gate and a self-locking latch. Always supervise your child closely when in or around pools, and use proper safety gear.
Water in the laundry room is extremely dangerous. A hidden danger like a top load washing machine full of water can be deadly for a baby if they were to fall in. Additionally, washing machines have caused many hot water burns to children so be careful with your children when in the laundry room.
A child can drown in as little as an inch of water. The bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house since a child can be looking into the bathtub or toilet and then trip and fall in. Do not leave buckets around the house with water in them and empty water in the bathtub when you are done using it.
Coffee, tea and soup can severely burn a child. Be careful where you put your hot drink down. The skin on children is much more delicate than an adults skin and a burn from a hot liquid like coffee can cause a very painful burn.
Toys can have parts that can be choking hazards. Be especially mindful of toys of older siblings which can have small parts that your baby could potentially choke on.
Garbage cans can be tempting to a child and can have stuff inside that can cause choking hazards and other types of injuries. Keep trash cans well out of the reach of children and in a locked area.
Safe sleeping situation can greatly reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Newborns must sleep use a firm mattress and sleep on their back. Your newborn should not have any item in the crib that is soft like a pillow, comforter, blanket, plush toy or sheepskin. Instead of a blanket, have your newborn use a sleeper or one-piece outfit to stay warm as blankets can cover a baby’s head and make breathing difficult. You should also not use baby bumpers because these too can cause breathing problems for a newborn. The crib slats need to be very close together and should not have any broken parts. Find a mattress that tightly fits inside the crib which will prevent any chance that your baby could get stuck between the mattress and the side of the crib.
Diaper changing stations need to have straps to secure your baby as a baby can find a way to roll off the edge if they are not strapped into the baby changing station. Better yet, change your baby on the floor with a receiving blanket and avoid any possibility of a dangerous fall. When using a baby changing station, do not leave your baby alone for even a second.
Bath seats offer parents a false sense of security. A baby can fall over and drown when using a bath seat so be very cautious if you choose to use them. Most importantly, never leave a baby alone in a bathtub for even a single moment as many children die every year from bathtub drownings many of which were sitting in a bath seat when a parent looked away for second and the seat tipped over.
Electric garage doors should have an automatic sensor that will automatically send the garage door back-up when closing if it senses something in its path.
Potpourri smells nice but the little pieces can be tempting to a child and are a tremendous choking hazard.
Vacuum cleaners should be unplugged, cord wrapped up, and stored securely in locked closet when not in use. A vacuum that is left plugged in can provide an opportunity for a toddler to turn on and have their foot or hands get dangerously caught inside the moving parts.
Balloons are surprisingly one of the leading causes of choking deaths for young children, more than balls, small toy parts and marbles. Choking often occurs when a child is blowing a balloon up and inadvertently sucks in the balloon. Children under the age of three should not be playing with balloons at all and children up to the age of ten should be supervised by an adult when playing with balloons.
Cars and trucks can heat up very quickly and children left in a car seat alone can die. Children playing can dangerously get trapped in the car or in the trunk.