4 Home Hazards for Babies and Small Children

September 18, 2015 | By

It’s too bad babies don’t come with instruction manuals. New parents have to rely on loved ones, friends, community resources, and instinct to make sure their home or office is safe for a baby, and keep that environment safe as their child grows.

The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) provides information for parents on how to properly use juvenile products like cribs, mattresses, and playpens, new or used, and how to know if a product has been recalled.

But there’s always that moment when something unexpected happens while your guard is down.

Here’s one of mine: We were signing papers in a real estate escrow office when our 4-year-old put a round candy in her mouth and immediately started to choke. I placed her over my knee, chopped between her shoulder blades lightly, and the candy popped out. I didn’t even pause with my question.

You can chalk this up to a mother’s instinct, although I admit there’s an element of experience there; she was the youngest of our four children.

If you’re new to baby-proofing or even if you’re an experienced parent who would appreciate a refresher on how to safeguard your child’s surroundings, the JPMA features tips on its website, an interactive hazards quiz, and a list of top hazards in the home, which include: 

1. Magnets, Loose Change, and Button Batteries

Young children can easily swallow small and colorful magnets that can attract to each other inside their body and cause significant internal damage. The JPMA advises keeping magnets out of reach in a high enough place on your refrigerator or in a special container for supervised play. If you think your child has swallowed magnets, seek medical attention immediately.

Loose change and button batteries such as those found in flashlights, remotes, or flameless candles can also lead to choking or blockage that requires immediate medical attention.

2. Tip-Overs and Loose Rugs

Tip-overs (where a child pulls a piece of furniture over onto themselves) are a leading cause of injury to children, as the JPMA notes. “The best way to avoid them is to make sure all furniture and televisions are secured to the wall,” says the JPMA. The same goes for loose area rugs or carpeting that is not secured to the floor. The JPMA advises taping down corners and smoothing down bumps that can trip tiny feet.

3. Liquid Laundry Packets

In the first seven months of 2015, poison control centers nationwide received 7,184 reports of kids under 5 years old ingesting or inhaling laundry detergent packets (often called “pods”) or getting pod contents on their skin or in their eyes, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC). Children can experience many symptoms, such as excessive vomiting, wheezing, gasping, drowsiness, corneal abrasions (scratches to the eyes), and breathing problems serious enough to need a ventilator, says the AAPCC. Parents should keep these items out of reach and call your local poison center at 800-222-1222 immediately if you suspect a child has come in contact with them.

A new safety standard was recently introduced for the packaging and labeling of these pods to help protect children from confusing them for food or toys.

4. Cords

Whether they’re connected to blinds, home gym equipment, or baby monitors, cords can pose strangulation hazards. Parents need to keep cords tied up and out of reach of children—especially if the cords are near a crib or stairs.

Source: The JPMA’s Baby Safety Zone

 

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