9 Everyday Hazards for Young Children
Safety hazards can quickly turn into an emergency with small children. Accidents with basic household items like window blinds still send children to the ER, even though knowledge of the threat has been around since the 1940s. Here’s how window blind accidents happen, according to a January 2018 study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics1:
- Most window blind accidents happened while children were under the care of parents (89.5%).
- Parents thought the child was asleep, playing or watching television or the child was left unsupervised for less than 10 minutes.
It’s important to remember that babies and children can be strangled by things you may or may not expect such as strings on clothing, cords and furniture. Follow these nine safety tips to help prevent your child from being strangled or suffocated:
- Around the house, cords from window blinds and other treatments should be tied up and out of reach. Cut the cords so that there isn’t a loop at the end. They can be re-secured with clothespins or specially designed cord clips, available at most hardware stores. Also, never let a phone cord dangle to the floor. Keep phone cords and other appliance cords bound and out of reach altogether.
- Avoid children’s clothing with drawstrings as much as possible, since the strings can get caught on an object and strangle the child. All drawstrings should be cut out of hoods, jackets and waistbands. Even the strings connecting mittens should be cut.
- Strings or ribbons that hang from an infant’s mobile or other crib toys should be removed. Strings from crib bumpers should be no longer than 6 inches. Diaper bags and purses should never be hung on a crib. A baby can get caught in the straps or strings. Never tie a pacifier around a baby’s neck, and don’t attach it to your baby’s clothing with a ribbon or piece of string. Also, resist putting necklaces or headbands on your baby. They too can get caught on objects.
- Avoid furniture, especially cribs that have cut-out designs. They are only tempting places for curious children to put their limbs or head.
- Babies who are not yet able to raise their heads are susceptible to suffocation. An infant should never be placed on soft bedding, such as a waterbed, sheepskin rug, puffy quilt or mattress cover. This also applies to soft pillows and large stuffed animals. Crib mattresses should fit snugly in the crib. This will help keep a baby from slipping between the crib and the mattress. Never place an infant down on a mattress covered with plastic or a plastic bag.
- Children should never be left alone in a stroller since they can slide down and get their head trapped.
- Falls from shopping carts are leading causes of head injuries for children. Use the seatbelt to restrain the child and don’t let the child ride or climb on the basket. Don’t leave children unattended in shopping carts.
- All plastic bags, including shopping bags and dry cleaning bags, should be kept away from children. For extra safety, tie several knots in each bag before throwing away. Pay attention also to plastic bags from toy packaging. Throw them away immediately.
- Only purchase infant products that meet government guidelines. Check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission website at www.cpsc.gov for more information.
For more information talk with your doctor. Contact emergency help immediately if your child gets into a dangerous situation.
1Onders, Kim, Chounthirath, Hodges, Smith. “Pediatric Injuries Related to Window Blinds, Shades and Cords.” Pediatrics, January 2018, Volume 141, Issue 1.