The Most Common Child Safety Hazards Found in Homes

Kids are prone to getting themselves into all kinds of trouble, and at all ages.  But parents tend to be most concerned about the hazards facing infants and toddlers, who don’t yet understand the dangers that lurk around every corner.  So if you’re looking for ways to ensure the safety of your children, at least when they’re at home, here are a few of the most common risks they face and how you can combat them.

  1. Falling objects.  This is a major issue for toddlers that are just starting to crawl, walk, and climb up every object in the environment.  Not only could unstable furnishings fall on them, but items on top could also tumble onto your kids.  However, you can easily address this issue by anchoring furnishings to the wall and securing items on top with safety straps or Velcro.  And items that your kids could climb (and fall from) should be blocked off for their safety.
  2. Fire.  The onus is on you to ensure fire safety in the home by testing smoke alarms frequently and changing their batteries twice a year, as well as keeping fire extinguishers at exits, on stairways, and in the kitchen.  For older kids, you should also practice an escape plan that includes how to exit the home in case of a fire and a meeting location for all members of the family to go to.
  3. Chemicals.  Items like cleaning solvents and bug sprays are obvious potential threats for poisoning, and they should be kept in high cabinets with locks of some sort.  But you may also want to keep medications, alcohol, and even cosmetics or toiletries out of the curious hands of children.  And don’t forget to identify household plants, which could also be poisonous to your kids.
  4. Electricity.  Outlet covers are pretty cheap and they’re a great way to ensure that kids are unable to stick fingers, tongues, or foreign objects into the many electrical outlets that are peppered throughout your home right at child-level.
  5. Pool/spa.  Not everyone has to worry about the threat of drowning that is posed by a backyard pool or hot tub.  But if you have these items at your home, you’ll definitely want to secure the area with locked gates (this will also relieve your liability where neighborhood kids are concerned) and keep a close eye on youngsters when they are allowed in the pool area.
  6. Choking hazards.  You might think that only small items and plastic bags pose a danger for choking and suffocation, but many items in your home could be risky in this regard.  You’ll simply have to look at items (especially plush toys, pillows, and blankets) that could be hazardous and determine if they are a threat.
  7. Weapons.  You might keep a weapon (or several) in the house as a form of home security, but you should know that these items could be just as dangerous to your kids as they are to intruders (especially older children).  So make sure to keep firearms in a locked gun safe (with ammunition stored separately) and place other types of weapons out of sight.

Evan Fischer is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.

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