Toddlers are so fun. They are so full of life, energy, and oh yes opinions! Now that they can talk, and walk there is no stopping them from doing whatever they get the urge to do. Whether it’s climbing up a bookshelf, dumping out a box of cereal all over the kitchen, or jumping off the couch like they are part monkey, toddlers have perfected the art of giving parents a scare! Their desire to try new things can be so much fun, and also very dangerous. It seems toddlers have no fear because they haven’t lived enough to understand that some things should be feared. Fear is a powerful emotion and also be a powerful tool in keeping kids safe. Since it’s nearly impossible to impress upon them why something is dangerous it makes more sense to be vigilant to keep your home and car as safe as possible. This may be tedious and annoying but it could very well save your child’s life.
Hidden dangers lurk around every corner when you have a mobile toddler. Things you wouldn’t even suspect as being an issue may very well be a problem. Common things in every home that weren’t a problem a few months ago, may now be death traps if you aren’t watching. The best way to keep your child safe is to watch them 24/7. But since that isn’t actually possible, here are 15 ways you are endangering your toddler, and 15 ways you can protect them from these unknown risks.
15 Feeding The Toddler Raw Veggies, Popcorn Or Hot Dogs
It seems totally absurd to say that feeding your toddler vegetables could be hazardous to his or her health. But raw veggies can absolutely be problematic for little kids! Toddlers have this unparalleled ability to find anything disgusting or dangerous and put it into their mouths. In the case of vegetables, popcorn and the number one cause of choking - hot dogs, these foods are potential hazards and should be given with a watchful eye. Hot dogs can safely be given to toddlers if they are chopped and diced. Never ever give a toddler a hot dog in a bun, or one that is cut into pieces, but not chopped. The reason is that hot dogs are the perfect size and shape to block the throat and allow a child to choke to death. Raw vegetables like carrots are very similar. They should be given only if chopped into small bites so that the child will not choke.
14 Not Using A Leash For Kids Prone To Running
Toddler leashes are genius. It may seem like a strange idea putting a leash on your child, but if you have a child prone to running, it could save you from heartache! Children can not only run away and get lost, they can get kidnapped, hit by a car…really any number of horrific things. For children who are prone to run getting a backpack leash is a cute, fun way to keep them safe. You can get these “leashes” at places like Walmart and Amazon Using a leash can make going in public so much less stressful. Places that can be most stressful for a parent with a runner are theme parks, shopping malls, carnivals, fairs, and zoo’s. They are so stressful because of the crowds, the distractions and the attractions for little kids. If not safely kept by your side your child could get into a world of trouble.
13 Putting Them In A Bunk Bed Too Soon
Families with two or more children in a bedroom typically turn to bunk beds as the space saving solution. Most children do not want to share a bed with their sibling. This is thought to be a temporary fix, so many families decide to simply invest in bunk beds instead. Bunk beds are a great space saver, and look adorable. Between 1990 and 1999 more than 57 children under the age of six died as the result of head entrapment from a collapsing bunk bed mattress. Though there are even toddler bunk beds now that have tents and attachments on them (and are super adorable), putting a toddler in a bunk bed too soon can be dangerous. Most bunk beds are not recommended for children under the age of six. Small children can fall off the bunk bed resulting in serious injuries and even death. Keeping toddlers in standard beds, and toddler beds will keep them safe for the interim until they are big enough to be able to handle a bunk.
12 Not Having A Deadbolt Lock On The Door
Nothing could be more terrifying than your child having access to the outside world without your knowledge. Toddlers should not be underestimated. If your toddler really wanted to could he/she get something to stand on and unlock your door? If you think the answer is yes, than your house is not safe for your toddler! Dead bolt locks are a great way to keep your toddler in, and unwanted visitors out. If your child can open the door and get out, they can also open the door and let a stranger in. I’ll never forget the day I was in my bedroom changing after my shower and I heard a male voice coming from the front of my house. I went running out of my bedroom in my towel and saw a man standing in the front door. He was there to sell us something. I was horrified my three year old opened the door and let him in. Anything and I mean anything could have happened. I immediately bought dead bolt locks, and we never had this problem again.
11 Leaving Your Razor In The Bathroom
Families who share bathrooms with their toddlers can leave unexpected dangers laying around. Makeup, cosmetics, mouthwash can all be ingested and poisonous to a toddler. But there is another danger you may not have thought of…your razor. Leaving your razor in the bathtub or on the counter within reach can result in your toddler getting injured. Razors are shiny and intriguing to a little child. Children get inadvertently cut themselves on the sharp blades and cause serious injuries without even trying to. Razors are tempting especially if they’ve seen mom or dad shave before. They are also a temptation simply because they colorful and look interesting. Keep your razor up high and out of reach to protect your toddler. Using an over the shower caddy, or high shelf can keep your little one safe. The same can be said about cosmetics and toiletries. Keep them up high and out of reach.
10 Not Latching The Toilet Seat Shut
Baby proofing is so important when you have a little one in the house. Toddlers can find hidden dangers literally anywhere. The bathroom has an infinite amount of dangers in it. Almost every aspect of a bathroom can be problematic. From the cosmetics, shampoo, toiletries, razors, and sharp counter corners, to the very toilet itself. Keeping your toddler out of the bathroom as much as possible is the safest practice. But since that is almost impossible, it is very important keep the toilet seat shut and latched. Using baby proofing latches will keep your little one safe by keeping the toilet off limits. Toilets hold several inches of water in them making them perfect places for a toddler to fall into and drown. Toilet seat latches are very inexpensive and easy to install. They may just keep your child from being a horrifying statistic.
9 Not Picking Up Small Toys Off The Floor
Picking up small toys is especially hard when your toddler is not the only child in the house. Having older children can make this really hard, if not impossible 100 percent of the time. Small toys like Legos, Barbie accessories, even cat toys can be choking hazards for a toddler. They will put everything into their mouths. It’s not a question of if, but when they do it. Toddlers explore through tasting, which is why the tendency to put everything into their mouths is so strong. Keeping toys organized and put away out of reach can save a child’s life. If your older child plays with Legos than designate a certain room that they may play with them in. Preferably a room that the toddler has limited access to. Keep all small objects out of reach. Having a play room or area just for the toddler is another way to keep him safe. This is a safe area he can explore and play with anything without the fear of him getting into trouble.
8 Wearing A Coat In The Car Seat
Car seats were designed to keep children safe as they are transported in a car. They were made to be worn tight and securely fastened to keep the child in place should an accident occur. If they are not tightened properly a child can be thrown from the seat, permanently injured, or killed. In the winter months it seems cruel to put a child in the car without a coat on. The winter coat though nice and warm, may be the reason your child is ejected from his seat in a car accident. Coats are bulky and force you to loosen the car seat straps. In doing so to make the coat fit, the child is actually not securely fastened into his seat. The results of this can be deadly. It’s better practice to wrap the child in a blanket or put in a coat only to get to the car. Once inside he should be strapped in without a coat on. Putting a hat on his head and a blanket across his lap should be sufficient in keeping him warm.
7 Leaving A Toddler Unattended With A Dog
Dogs are wonderful companions. Typically, they are seen more as family members than they are as pets. Toddlers tend to love animals. Dogs are no exception. Your dog may be the sweetest dog you ever met with no aggressive bone in his/her body. Even if your dog has never so much as growled before, they should never be left alone with a toddler without supervision. When a dog is left alone with a toddler anything could happen. Babies and toddlers love to pull tails, pull hair and ears. A toddler may try to carry your dog, or sit on your dog. Without meaning to cause harm, the dog may injure your toddler simply by protecting himself. You should supervise your dog with your child at all times, especially during the first few years of his/her life. Once the child is old enough to know better than to pull a tail or harm the animal, if the dog is trustworthy you should be able to safely leave them in a room unattended.
6 Improperly Anchoring Your Furniture
Toddlers and monkeys have a lot in common. They are prone to mischief, and love to climb on everything! Some toddlers are more likely to climb than others, but all toddlers have a keen sense for trouble. Heavy furniture can prove to be a death trap to a child who wants to explore. Properly anchoring furniture to the wall can keep items like bookshelves, televisions and dressers from falling over and killing your toddler. Anchoring is very simple, involving nothing more than a screw and a strap. It is not expensive or overly complicated. The worst it can do is put another hole in the wall…the best it can do is save your child’s life. Sounds like a good trade-off to me! Many pieces of furniture come with anchors for you to use. Toppling furniture sends an injured child to the emergency room every thirty minutes. Many of these injuries could have been avoided had the furniture in question been properly secured to the wall.
5 Not Using Outlet Covers
Electrical outlets are scattered throughout every home. They are useful and fantastic inventions, but they are very easy targets for toddler mischief. What could look more interesting than an uncovered outlet? Children can put their fingers in them, pens, forks, anything skinny and metal that they can find. Even keys! The results can be dangerous and even deadly. Outlet covers are so easy to install, can be found at nearly any store selling baby items or hardware, and cost next to nothing. Keeping all outlets covered that are not in use is wise practice for parents with toddlers. Electric outlets at ground level are the most dangerous but outlets even at chest height could be a potential hazard if your little stinker decides to climb on a chair or counter. And that kind of climbing is a whole other danger that exists for toddlers! They climb, they stick fingers in outlets…they will try anything!
4 Using Refrigerator Magnets
Alphabet and number refrigerator magnets provide endless fun for little children. They help them to learn their letters and numbers, but also teach them to learn to read. The problem with these little magnets is the fact that they are little. The small round magnets on the back of the letters and numbers can easily get dislodged from the plastic casing and can be swallowed by a toddler. If a magnet is swallowed it could be potential choking hazard. If the child is lucky enough not to choke on it, but swallows it instead this could be very dangerous. Magnets need to be surgically removed when swallowed. They are dangerous because they can puncture the lining of the intestine causing real problems that can be life threatening. Larger flat magnets kept up high on a refrigerator are much safer options for families with toddlers.
3 Kitchen Utensils Within Their Reach
There are several ways toddlers can have access to utensils. Regardless of how they get them, the result can be deadly. Forks, butter knives, sharp knives, these can all be problematic for little ones who get a hold of them. Locking utensil drawers, keeping dishwashers secured, and sharp knives far out of reach are the best ways to keep toddlers safe when it comes to utensils. It only takes a moment for a toddler to grab a steak knife and then trip and fall. Drawer locks can be found at hardware stores and are slightly more involved with installation than toilet seat latches and outlet covers. Sometimes after a meal it can be easy to lose track of time and forget to clear the table. Leaving sharp knives, and other utensils on a table can result in easy access for a toddler with a knack for climbing.
2 Not Locking Up Cleaning Supplies
Cleaning supplies, dish detergent, laundry soap, these can all be delicious smelling treats to a child. A very dangerous toxic treat. Dish tablets look like candy and laundry pods look and smell yummy. Children have ended up in the emergency room by eating these thinking they are food. Getting locks for cabinets where you keep your supplies is a great way to keep your child safe. Laundry and dish tablets should be kept up high and out of reach, or locked in a bin or cabinet. Cleaning products and soaps should be kept out of reach and far from children. Any liquid product can be thought to be juice and ingested. Depending on what it is it could prove to be a deadly concoction. Every day over three hundred kids end up in the emergency room every single day as the result of being poisoned. And two of those three hundred die. Every day.
1 Leaving Your Purse Around
It seems harmless to just throw your purse on a chair or lay it on the couch when you get home from an errand. But a woman’s purse can be dangerous for a toddler. A purse typically contains coins, chapstick/lipstick, candy, pens (maybe with lids), medicine like Tylenol, and sometimes even pepper spray. Any one of those items could be a problem for a toddler. Either a choking hazard, poisonous or just downright dangerous. A purse should be kept in a closet, or up on a high hook or shelf. What could be more fun for a little girl than rummaging through mommy’s purse. Or a little boy looking to see what he can find. Making sure your purse is out of reach could save your little one from getting into trouble and maybe even getting hurt, or worse yet seriously injured.
Sources: Graceandmotherhood.com, Parents.com, Kidsindanger.org, anchorit.gov, WebMD, CDC.gov