By Judy L. Marchman
September is Baby Safety Month. Sponsored by the Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association (JPMA), the month-long event aims to educate parents and caregivers on ways to safeguard their children against hidden hazards in the home every day.
Properly safeguarding the home has to go beyond just babyproofing cabinet doors and electrical sockets. The JPMA has highlighted the top 10 hidden hazards in the home that parents should be aware of:
- Magnets. Small refrigerator magnets become a choking hazard for little ones and multiple magnets can attract each other, causing internal damage. Be sure to keep magnets up out of reach of small hands.
- Loose change. The same goes for loose change, another choking hazard. Be sure to place change in a jar or tray in a location away from curious hands — and check the couch or chairs (and underneath them, too) for coins that got away.
- Button batteries. Small, round batteries used in some remote controls or hearing devices can pose a serious health risk and choking hazard if swallowed.
- Cords. Any kind of cord, from electrical cords to those used with blinds or draperies, can pose a strangulation risk for small children. Be sure to keep cords tied up and out of reach.
- Hot mugs. When small children are present, be cognizant of where you place a mug or cup filled with a hot beverage. A child could easily reach out to grab it and either burn fingers from the hot surface or spill the liquid on themselves. Also, be aware of tablecloth edges that a child could pull on, potentially causing hot liquid or food to fall.
- Pot handles sticking out. If you’re cooking, keep any pot handles turned in or to the side, and not sticking out where small fingers can grab a hot handle or pull the pot over. The same goes if you have to hold a child while working in the kitchen.
- Tipovers. From TVs to small bookcases, tipovers can cause serious injury to small children, so it’s important to secure heavy furniture and appliances to the wall.
- Loose rugs or carpet. Children running through the house can slip on loose rugs or trip on torn carpet, so make sure to add a sticky nonslip pad underneath all area rugs and tape down any loose carpet edges.
- Laundry packets. Laundry packets and pods can look like tempting treats to children, but can cause serious harm if ingested. Be sure to keep all laundry detergents up high and out of reach of children.
- Recalled products. Manufacturers may have recalled certain toys or games for possible defects, so it’s important to keep on top of these notices, particularly if you buy toys secondhand. You can check on toy recalls at www.recall.gov.
Parents and older children can play an interactive game to uncover these hidden hazards and learn additional tips on preventing accidents at www.babysafetyzone.org.