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Children are naturally incredibly curious — it’s how they learn about life.
That curiosity means that, as parents, we need to be on our toes at all times. From electrical outlets to laundry detergent pods, everything is a hazard waiting for our children to discover.
We all want to keep our babies safe, but are you aware of all the dangers around your home? Check out these 15 hazards, then do everything you can to keep Little One away from them.
- Toothpaste. Little One isn’t likely to become seriously ill from swallowing small amounts of fluoride-containing toothpaste, but a Harvard study published in 2012 found that ingesting too much fluoride harmed children’s cognitive abilities. Better to be safe than sorry: Limit the amount of children’s toothpaste you allow Little One to use, and keep the adult stuff out of reach.
- Flat-screen TV. Your sleek, slim flat-screen TV is top-heavy and if you don’t have it properly tethered, it could topple onto your child (same goes for bookcases and other heavy furniture). Always keep your eyes on your toddler, who might want to touch what she sees, and anchor your television to a secured stand.
- Purses and pockets. These are filled with all sorts of things that seem innocuous but can hurt kids: cigarettes, medications (prescription and over-the-counter), hand sanitizer. Make sure to store your purse or jacket in a place that Little One can’t reach. (While we’re talking about purses, NEVER hang them from doorknobs. Just like window-blind cords, a shoulder bag on a knob is a strangulation hazard.)
- Stovetops and ovens. Keep Little One well away from the stove — you might be surprised by how high she can reach. We keep Baby Bird out of the kitchen as much as possible, but when I have to have her in there with me, I remove the stove knobs and latch the oven door lock.
- Cleaning products. You don’t want Little One to ingest these or get them on her delicate skin. Keeping your cleaning cabinet locked is a must, but putting cleaning products high out of reach and locked up is the best solution.
- Houseplants. You know certain plants can be dangerous for your pets, but did you know that the same goes for your child? Keep plants such as daffodils, peace lilies, and philodendron out of reach. (Click here for a detailed list of toxic and non-toxic plants.)
- Electronic cigarettes. The nicotine in these is INCREDIBLY strong — a teaspoon of it could be lethal for a small child, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
- Laundry detergent packets. Treat these like all other chemicals and make sure they’re inaccessible to your child. The detergent can cause serious irritation if it’s rubbed in her eye, and ingesting a pod could be life-threatening. The same goes for dishwasher tabs.
- Doorstops. Kids love those springy doorstops, probably because they make that irritating “boing” sound when they’re pulled on. Did you know the little white plug at the end of the stop can be removed? Definite choking hazard. If you have these in your home, consider replacing them with one-piece stoppers.
- Open windows. Window screens aren’t strong enough to prevent your child from falling out. Install window safety guards, or keep shut any windows that Little One can reach.
- Toy box. Your Little One, like mine, probably has a crapload of toys, and you need somewhere to store them. If you’re thinking of buying a toy box, make sure it’s made of a lightweight material like plastic or fabric. A toy box with a heavy lid could slam down on her fingers or fall and trap her head or neck.
- Toy labels. Why are these dangerous? If your child has teeth she can chew them off, which makes them a choking hazard. Just to be safe, I’ve started cutting them off of Baby Bird’s toys.
- Button batteries. I recently discovered that one of Baby Bird’s talking books uses button batteries. How’d I find out? The battery cover popped off, leaving this hazard out for her to discover. Not only are button batteries a choking hazard, they can can corrode and cause internal bleeding if they’re ingested. If any of your remotes or your child’s toys uses these batteries, be sure the cover is secure. You might even consider applying a dab of glue over the screw to keep it in place.
- Exercise equipment. Kids want to touch everything, and that’s a big problem when dealing with exercise equipment. Why? Little One could lose a finger if it gets caught in the belt of a treadmill. She could be thrown from a stairclimber, resulting in a concussion. You don’t need to get rid of your equipment. Just make sure LIttle One isn’t around when you’re using it and that she doesn’t know how to turn it on.
- Toilets. Is it the flushing sound? Is it the lure of the forbidden? Baby Bird can’t seem to stay away from the toilet, but it’s a serious hazard for tots like her. Her hands could be smashed by a falling seat or worse — she could be hit on the head and knocked into the water, where she’s at risk of drowning. Install a toilet lid lock. It’s an annoyance, but it could save your child’s life.