Hidden Home Dangers: What’s in your home putting kids at risk

home dangers for children

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Niki Maloney loves to have her friends’ sons Peyton and Declyn visit. Of course, she wants them to be as safe as possible in her home, too.

For starters, many people keep household cleaners under the kitchen sink.A tour with Teresa Taylor, RN, who works with Stormont-Vail Health and Safe Kids Shawnee County, opened her eyes to the dangers hidden in plain sight.

“A lot of these liquids look like fruity drinks so it wouldn’t be uncommon for kids open up it up and have a drink, which could be very dangerous,” Taylor said, suggesting a simple cabinet lock to keep kids out.

Taylor also said people need to be mindful of what they keep on the counter. Many people might keep prescription pills on the countertop, but Taylor says they’re way too easy to get into there. Instead, put them up high, where children cannot reach them.

Taylor also had a caution about car keys. The key fobs contain a lithium ion battery, or button battery. She says kids may be playing with the keys, and the key fob falls open, allowing them to get at the button battery ingest it.

Safe Kids says those button batteries, whether from key fobs, hearing aids or audio greeting cards, sparked nearly 2800 calls to poison control centers in 2013 and three deaths.

Another danger zone is the stairs.

“Unfortunately, we do see a fair amount of head injuries from falls,” Taylor said.

If you’ll have kids around, invest in a baby gate as a quick barrier.

In the bathroom, you might think about keeping medications out of reach, but water may be the bigger threat. First, it can easily burn a child’s more delicate skin.

“It’s best to have the hot water heater set to 120 degrees or below and often times we set it a little hotter,” Taylor said. “Test it before kids are exposed.”

And don’t forget the toilet.

“Toilets are actually a potential drowning hazard for kids,” Taylor said. “They might start playing in the water and then, as they’re top heavy, might fall into it and not get them self back up out because they’re too top heavy. Make sure the lid is closed – and keeping the bathroom door closed is a good idea in general.”

But you can’t hide your furniture. Safe Kids says more than 22,000 children a year end up in emergency rooms from injuries related to furniture, television or appliances falling over.

“If a child started to pull on it or climb, it could topple over,” Taylor said.

Taylor said any furniture or TV that could fall should be anchored to the wall or otherwise secured.

To explore other hazards, get down on the floor to see things as a child would. Decorations with small parts can be choking hazards, and cords or exposed outlets are also tempting.

“(Children) explore in all ways and all senses, so putting things in the mouth is common. From chewing on the cord, (a child) could get an electrical injury,” Taylor said. “Any kind of cord could be a choking hazard or strangulation concern.”

A few other key areas to keep in mind include the laundry room. Keep all products, especially laundry pods, out of reach; in the kitchen, move pans to the back burner with handles turned in; and, while you have safety on the mind, check those smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector batteries every six months.

Niki’s taking a fresh look, to ensure all Peyton and Declyn’s visits are filled with smiles – and not tears!

You can find a lot more statistics and information to keep your home safe at www.safekids.org.

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