Believe it or not, there are so many things in our day-to-day life that are unsafe for our toddlers. Because we are so used to having these items around the house - and allowing our older children to use them - it's easy to forget the risk they pose to our toddlers. I had never even thought about some of these unsafe things until I started writing this.
Who would really think that a balloon could be a major choking hazard? Or that the batteries we use to power our children's favorite toys could pose a threat?
Little things we kept around the house before having kids are now risky. While there's no way to swear off AA batteries, make sure to keep items that could harm young children locked in a cabinet or out of arm's reach. As your kids get older, you can teach them that certain things are off-limits or that they need an adult around before they can use them.
These are some of the biggest risks that surprised me in my research!
1. Balloons: These look pretty all blown up, but latex balloons pose a major choking hazard for children of all ages. In fact, more children choke annually on non-inflated or broken balloons than balls, marbles, or toy parts - a total that accounts for about one-third of choking-related deaths in children, according the National SAFE KIDS Campaign.
2. Magnets: Something we have used for decades to hang memos on our refrigerator can seriously harm your children. While they're a choking hazard to begin with, magnets can cause serious damage if swallowed! According to Time, the strength of some magnets can cause holes in intestines, or cause them to actually twist, creating serious health problems and often requiring surgery.
3. Razors and Other Bathroom Essentials: I am sure you or your husband have at least one of these in the house, right? I never even thought about it. I would just get in the shower and do my thing - until my oldest son discovered it years ago while bathing. It really isn't rocket science to know how dangerous a razor can be for a toddler if they were to get their hands on it! Make sure to keep razors, along with other shampoos and medicines you may store in the bathroom, out of your child's reach. CNN reported in March that since 1979, the number of U.S. poisoning deaths in kids from medications has jumped from 36% to 64%. Help end this cycle by taking extra precautions in keeping your children out of your medicine cabinet!
4. Batteries: More and more children are accidentally getting ahold of batteries and eating them! I know we have all had that one toy the kids have thrown hard enough for them to pop out, but new research suggests the number of kids admitted to the hospital for ingesting a battery is up. Since 1990, the number of kids treated in ERs around the country for battery-related injuries has nearly doubled, from 4 kids for every 100,000 U.S. children each year in 1990 to between 7 and 8 per 100,000 in 2009. Smaller "button"-type batteries may pose an additional risk. Try to limit playtime with battery-operated toys for when you can supervise your kids.
5. Window Blinds: According to a 2011 New York Times article, about one child a month dies from window blind strangulation. Be safe, and always shorten or secure all of the strings that come along with your blinds. (Or, opt for cordless blinds.) Learn more about the dangers window blinds pose here.
6. Cleaning Supplies: An oldie but goodie on the list: cleaning products. They are always so brightly colored and in bottles similarly shaped to juice containers. Make sure you keep cleaning products secure in a place where they are not only out of sight, but out of reach! Keep your items in hard-to-open containers where kids would have difficulty getting into them.
Plus, a new study by the Environmental Working Group has found that many "non-toxic" household cleaners could pose health risks to kids if they're ingested or even if their fumes are breathed in. Be sure to check out their list of "worst offenders" to take off of your cleaning supplies' list altogether.
7. Plastic Wrap/Tin Foil: I never even thought about little fingers coming in contact with the sharp edges that cut pieces of tin foil off the roll. Keep these on a high shelf so kids don't accidentally come across them.
- By Danielle Elwood
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