5 Hidden Hazards of the Home
The impending arrival of a baby will soon have you looking at your home in a whole new light. Naturally young children and babies have curious minds and want to discover everything in their path and more importantly know if they can put it in their mouths! Potential dangers lurk around every corner of your home, inside and outside so making sure you set aside time to access your home environment from the point of view of a baby is crucial in avoiding any unwanted hospital trips in the first few years of your little one’s life.
Below we look at some lessor known home hazards that may not always be front of mind but should be considered when your little one starts discovering their home and surroundings.
1. THE HOUSEHOLD BIN
The bin is not often an item thought of as a danger to crawling babies or toddlers however they can see you discarding various items, including tempting food scraps into the bin which may prick their curiosity. When you consider the items, you are placing into the bins you soon discover the numerous potential hazards that are lurking under that bin lid. If you're using your bin to discard foods past their due by date, raw meats, soft plastics with sharp edges, paper clips, batteries, or other potentially dangerous items, ensure your bin is placed out of reach. Simple solutions such as cupboard bin storage with a child safety latch can make all the difference.
2. PLANTS AND GREENERY
Gardens are fun places of discovery for babies and children and while fresh air and sunshine are great for their health and wellbeing, it can also be a hidden hazard zone with some greenery not always kind for our little ones. Researching which plants and weeds are poisonous to babies and children should be made part of your early child safety checklist and removal of those that pose greatest risks can be removed. People are surprised at how many everyday plants and flowers, such as the common Daffodil or Boston Ivy, can pose a risk to babies and small children if not by poisoning, then by causing severe skin irritations. Fence off or remove any suspect plants until your child is old enough to learn not to eat strange plants which tends to be when children are around three years old.
If there are varieties of plants or flowers you do not wish to remove, then using one of the many varieties of child safety barriers and retractable gates from Perma Child Safety. This will allow you to block off specific areas of your garden providing added protection for children, but as always supervision is best when avoiding hazards in the garden.
3. MICROWAVES & DISHWASHERS
In a recent report by the American Association of Pediatricians they warned parents of the potential risks associated with chemicals found in food colorings, preservatives, and food packaging materials. For parents, a key finding was that heating plastics such as bottles in the microwave, or dishwasher increased the chance of dangerous chemicals being leaked from the item. Plastics with recycling codes three for phthalates, six for styrene, and seven for bisphenols should be avoided, however glass containers or stainless-steel packaging was recommended as best.
Dishwashers may look harmless however pose their own hazard if they are not secured or latched properly when not in use. A small child or baby may pull themselves up opening the door at the same time leaving them exposed to a number of hazards from within which could result in a trip to the emergency room.
From sharp knives and breakable items such as glass, to hot, dirty water and bright colored dishwasher detergent pods which can look inviting to a baby or toddler’s mouth. The AAP reported over 17,000 calls to poison control on one year regarding children who had ingested or aspirated detergent pods. Securing safety latches and safety locks for cabinets can work great on dishwashers to provide peace of mind for new parents.
4. NAPPY SACKS
Nappy sacks are one of those items that go under the radar of being considered a child hazard, however when you think of the possible dangers associated with them you wonder how you couldn’t have. Nappy sacks present themselves as an attractive play item for children with bright colours and deliver a fun crinkly sound when rustled in tiny hands.
Almost all baby nurseries will have a supply of nappy sacks at their change table for convenience but ensure the location of these aren’t accessible for babies to grab while you’re changing them, or for small siblings to reach. The dangers nappy sacks present is that they can easily cause suffocation if near the mouth and nose or babies and small children, their flimsy material means that they can quickly be ‘sucked in’ against the nose and mouth preventing breathing. Or worse, they can be inhaled and choked on.
An 18mth old from the UK who choked and passed away after inhaling a nappy sack is just one of a 16 known deaths that have occurred due to nappy sacks. To keep young ones’ safe, you should treat nappy sacks just as you would a poison and keep them well out of reach of children. A cupboard or draw secured with Perma Child Safety cabinet locks and corner drawer latches are a good solution to keep items of danger out of sight and harm’s way.
5. HANDBAG CONTENTS
Most women will agree that the handbag may not be the most organized areas of their life. A home to many discarded items that make their way into the small creases at the bottom, or pockets with gum packets, lip gloss and coins which may appear harmless to the average eye, however to a small curious child it’s a hidden treasure trove of discoveries to explore. Small lids and caps can easily be undone and eaten by babies and small toddlers which also pose severe choking hazards. Button batteries and coins can also easily be ingested as so gum which can cause a blockage in a small throat. Ensure a regular clean-out of your handbag is completed and remove any items that may attract the interest of a small child if you are prone to leaving your bag in open areas. Do try to keep your bag on a high bench or shelf out of reach of little hands to ensure you bag contents don’t become the next reason you’re heading to the hospital.
No matter how well-equipped you are, you still need to be alert to possible dangers. Luckily there are a plethora of child safety devices and tools available to Perma Child Safety to help you secure your home and keep curious little hands at bay but as always, supervision at all times is the most effective way of keeping your baby safe.