No matter what you do or where you go, it’s always our home we’re longing for at the end of every day. It is the only place on earth where we can be comfortable, laugh or cry our hearts out, and do things we can not do anywhere else. When you start a family, you as parents think that since our home is our refuge, it is also the case for your children. Or is it?
When you start having kids, you’ll also start to notice that some of the used-to-be-normal parts of your home are not exactly safe for your little ones. Some of the obvious ones are the electrical sockets, stairs, toilet seats, kitchen knives, sharp edges of your furniture, unfenced swimming pool, the balcony, etc.
First and foremost, here’s the good news: there are tons of childproofing gadgets in the market today.
You can now put covers on electrical sockets, install child safety gates at the bottom and top of your staircase, place toilet seat locks in every bathroom, purchase kid-safe knife storage, cover all your furniture’s sharp edges with edge guards, have your swimming pool fenced, and provide locks at the balcony entrance.
They may be expensive most of the time, but fortunately doable.
However, if you think that you already got everything covered, you are most likely wrong. There are still tons of additional hidden hazards lurking in your home.
Here are the top 10 hidden dangers inside your house that many parents tend to overlook:
1. Window Blinds
Since 1990, there are over a hundred of child deaths associated with window blinds. More than 600 children are being treated yearly in the United States due to accidental strangulation from those dangling blind cords.
The Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) highly recommends the use of window blinds equipped with a cordless option. With this, you can adjust the shade or blinds by pushing or pulling on the bottom rail.
Another option is the motorized blinds. You can operate this using a special app on your mobile phone.
2. Staircase Railings
The design of your staircase may look innocent at first, but for your toddlers and small kids, your horizontal staircase railings could be the most dangerous part of your home. Often described as the ladder effect, your children will surely and will always be tempted to climb on them whenever they get the chance.
The safest option is to use vertical staircase railings that are spaced less than 4 inches apart. Those rails that are spaced too far apart can also impose risks to small children like getting their heads stuck in between them.
A more affordable option is to install a clear plastic guard around the railings. This will create a shield to prevent the little ones to play and climb on them while maintaining an unobstructed view.
This also goes with windows and balcony rails. But since the whole balcony is already a great hazard for kids, this is already a no-brainer. Securing the entrance to the area would be your best bet.
In 2011, there are 41 recorded fatalities due to furniture tip-overs in the US. A good percentage of this number is children younger than 9 years old.
Talking about the ladder effect, the cabinets and bookshelves are on the top of the list. Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent these accidents at home.
When buying furniture, always choose the sturdiest one. The most recommended by experts is solid wood furniture since it would be heavy enough for a child to move it just like that. For added safety, anchor it to the wall or ceiling.
You can install locks for your cabinets. This will prevent your children to open and climb to it anytime they want.
For those who are planning to renovate or build a new house, built-in furniture such as drawers, cabinets, dressers, and bookshelves would be the best way to avoid such accidents.
4. Bucket of Water
According to studies, unintentional drowning is the leading cause of death for children younger than 5 years old. There is already a worrying number of child deaths due to accidental drowning after falling into a bucket of water inside their homes.
These buckets can be found anywhere, inside your laundry area, the garage, or even inside your bathrooms. Always make sure to empty these buckets before leaving them.
5. Glass Table Top
Many sophisticated homeowners have always preferred tables with glass tops. Who could blame them? Glass tables stylishly open up spaces and make any room feel larger.
However, the kids’ talent for improvisation may cause this glass-top furniture to impose a dangerous risk. As we all know, almost everything is a drum set or a trampoline for the little ones. One big bang or even the slightest jump on a glass table will cause it to break and shatter into small pieces. These sharp pieces can severe arteries if anyone falls on them.
The most recommended type of glass to use for any home furnishing is tempered. It is similar to the ones used on vehicle windows. In case it breaks, the glass pieces are smaller and blunt. They may still cut you, but they are less likely to cause serious injuries.
6. Indoor House Plants
Indoor plants greatly contribute to the overall look of the house. They also purify the air and provide different types of energy depending on your beliefs.
However, not all indoor plants are safe especially when you have kids and even pets at home. Some of the most dangerous plants that you may have right now are:
- Pothos Ivy / Devil’s Ivy
- Arrowhead Plant
- Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane)
- Nerium Oleander
- Snake Plant
Serious injuries caused by these plants can occur from touching the leaves, ingesting any part of it including the soil, skin contact with the resins, etc.
If you have any of the plants mentioned above, take them away from your children’s reach as soon as possible. If you’re planning to buy one, make your research first since not all plant sellers are honest and 100% knowledgeable on these.
Similar to number 3 (Furniture Tip-Overs), this has also happened too many times to a big number of children not only in the US but worldwide. The most common denominator between all these reported incidents is that the TV is placed on a table.
As a kid once, we all know how fun it is to tap the TV especially when we’re too excited about what we’re watching. However, the televisions during our childhood are way heavier than they are right now so we couldn’t easily make them fall to our deaths.
To avoid this, mount your TV to the wall or ceiling. There are now affordable TV brackets that we can buy online or from appliance stores near you.
The little ones tend to copy your actions especially when you’re not around. If he sees you shaving, there’s a big chance that he’ll imitate that as soon as he sees your razor lying around. Let’s face the fact that these razors, like some of our “not part of our daily routine” things, tend to be placed in random places like anywhere that can easily be reached by children.
9. Button Batteries
These batteries can be found anywhere – toys, bathroom scales, watches, and even hearing aids. Since they are too small that they can easily fit inside their mouths, this has long been recognized as a potential hazard for kids. There’s a study that serious injuries and child deaths are most common for those younger than 5 years of age.
If you live in a house built before 1978, there’s a chance that the paint used during the construction of your home contains lead. Lead is a poisonous metal that can irreversibly damage your children’s nervous system, brain, and other important organs. Elevated levels of this metal can also cause birth defects and learning disabilities for both unborn babies and kids.
Even a small scratch or a scraped paint on the wall can do unimaginable harm to children. If your child sees it, he will most likely peel it whenever he can, especially when you’re not looking. Who knows what he would do next? Put his hand inside his mouth? Eat the flake he just pulled from the wall since it looks like a potato chip?
If you’re in doubt, the best thing to do is to scrape it all off from your wall and repaint it using a baby-safe or kid-friendly paint.