Safety is at the top of every parent's list of concerns. However, even if you have an eagle eye level of focus, certain health hazards can still go unnoticed. In fact, there are daily household dangers most parents ignore, but really shouldn't if they want to keep their child safe. Of course, no parent would willingly disregard potential risks to their child's health. But that's wherein the problem lies. It's typically the kind of things you might not expect to be an issue that can often turn out to be the most dangerous.
Sure, there are the obvious disasters that are waiting to happen, like leaving chemical cleaners or sharp knives within a child's reach. But there are everyday household objects and situations which hold a surprisingly high potential for danger. Before you start covering every surface in your house with bubble wrap, remember that being able to identify the hazards is the first step. Thankfully, being aware of the previously unknown risks means that now you can fix or avoid those things to make your home as safe as possible for the whole family. So check out these household dangers most parents ignore (but really shouldn't) to help you develop a plan that'll make your house the safest on the block.
1. Latex Balloons
Whether it's for a birthday or some other kind of celebration, your child is bound to come into contact with balloons at some point. Though they may seem harmless at first glance, they could actually pose a serious threat. "Latex balloons are one of the worst things to choke on because they can conform to a child's throat and completely block breathing," Dr. Mariann Manno, an associate professor of clinical pediatrics and emergency medicine, told Parents. It's also worth noting that the material in and of itself can be risky since about three million people are allergic to latex in the United States, according to the American Latex Allergy Association.
2. Bedtime Boosters
You probably knew that newborns shouldn't have anything like loose blankets or toys in their bassinet, but what about toddlers? According to the experts at Baby Center, stuffed animals, bumpers, or pillows can boost help you kid boos themselves out of the crib. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggested that children who are 35 inches tall you should transition out of sleeping in cribs. Of course every child is different, but these are helpful guidelines to consider.
3. Open Windows
Plenty of people prefer a natural breeze over cranking up their air conditioner, but windows can be dangerous for children even if you have a screen in place. In an interview with The New York Times, Dr. Angela Mickalide, the director of outreach at the Home Safety Council, warned that children can fall out of a window opened more than four inches and that window screens do not prevent falls. Perhaps an investment in guards or locks for the windows in your home could be well worth it.
Whether you live in the city or countryside, it's nice to bring a little of the outdoors into your home. However, greenery that looks lovely to parents can be dangerous to children. According to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHoP), "oxalate plants contain sharp, tiny crystals in their juices, leaves and stems, called calcium oxalate crystals." So what happens if a child comes into contact with these crystals? If ingested, it can cause pain and if touched, it can seriously irritate skin, CHoP noted. More importantly, which common household plants contain xalcium oxalate crystals? A few of the plants which pose safety hazards are calla lily, elephants ear, peace lily, chrysanthemums, marigold, and poinsettia, according to CHoP.
You might think that because your television is sitting solidly on a stand or in an entertainment center that it's not a household danger. However, according to the 2015 United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) report, falling TVs represented 41 percent of emergency room visits and, of that, 65 percent of TV falls were fatal. Kids love to climb and there's really no changing that. But parents can change whether or not their TVs are properly and safely secured in the home.
6. Laundry Items
Of course you're not going to ask your toddler to help out with bleaching your white clothes, but there are still some household dangers lurking in the laundry room. You know those little detergent pods? They may seem safer since the liquid is contained, but records show otherwise. According to The Wall Street Journal, nearly 800 children, "experienced serious side effects after getting into laundry packets in 2012 and 2013." No matter how safe an item's packaging seems to be, if it contains dangerous chemicals it's best to store them safely out of your child's reach.
7. The Dishwasher
As if the kitchen wasn't already full of potential disaster, you can add another thing to your list. Pediatrician Dr. Ari Brown told Parents, dishwashers are a major household danger that most parents ignore. But what makes a dishwasher such a safety hazard? Brown explained that hot water, sharp utensils, and dishwasher detergent can all hurt a child. You can try pointing any knives or forks downwards and storing detergent in locked cabinet to prevent any injuries.
8. The Bathroom
You probably already know all about keeping your child safe in the bathtub, but there are other issues you might not have given a second thought to. Dr. Garry Gardner, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' council on injury, violence, and poison prevention, told CBS, "any type of standing water — even if it's just an inch deep — can harm a child." The bath is a given, but what else can be a risk? "Children lean over and look into the toilet, they trip, and they fall in," Gardner continued. Keeping safety locks on toilet lids and never leaving your child unattended in the tub are great ways to keep them safe.
There are obvious chemicals you know to keep out of your child's reach, yet there are some household items containing equally dangerous chemicals you might have ignored. As pediatrician Dr. Pat F. Bass III told Everyday Health, shampoo, antibacterial cleansers, glass cleaner, sanitizers, and other various health and beauty products are considered poisonous and would warrant a call to Poison Control if your child ingested them. As always, locking up or placing potentially dangerous items out of reach is your best bet.
10. Collapsible Hampers
Apparently this is a major household danger to your kids. In an interview with Parents, pediatric ophthalmologist Dr. Iris Kassem warned that a person's eye can be cut open when the hamper wire comes loose from the fabric. Check to see if your laundry hampers contain these types of materials and perhaps opt for a different type.
11. Recalled Items
If you're anything like me, you might not know if any of your child's things had a safety recall, nonetheless how to take care of the situation. As CNN reported, an often over-looked safety hazard is not regularly checking for product recalls. Thankfully, it's surprisingly easy to stay remedy this situation. You can keep up to date by signing up for recall alerts from the USCPSC via e-mail notifications. That way you will always be aware if any of your children's toys, seats, or other items have been recalled.