The moment a baby becomes mobile is the moment that an otherwise safe home becomes a hazard zone for them. Everyday items that pose zero risk for adults can prove lethal for babies with developing brains and no impulse control.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to baby-proof your home so that it will be safer for your little ones. But first you have to know of the hidden dangers to look out for. Here are 10 everyday household items that are dangerous for babies.
10 Electrical Sockets
Electrical sockets are extremely dangerous to babies from the time they start crawling. Babies, curious by nature, aren't aware of the electric current flowing through the outlet and will often try to stick their spit-covered fingers, or worse, tiny metal objects laying around, inside of them. This action could result in electrical shock, second or third degree burns, or even worse, death.
To prevent this from happening, you should make sure to have plastic socket covers on hand to cover any outlets that aren't currently in use. To add to that, you should also keep cords that are plugged in appliances as possible out of their reach.
9 Unsecured Dressers And Chests
In 2017, Ikea began recalling a model of dresser chests after eight of them were easily overturned, killing the children underneath. Most of the kids involved had been climbing on the drawers when they turned over. The unfortunate accidents put pressure on the furniture manufacturers to provide their customers with easily seen warnings and tools to brace the dressers to the wall.
Unfortunately, Ikea's efforts came too little, too late. They also don't eliminate the risk of unsecured dressers and chests. This style of dresser is sold by many companies. If you have one in your home, make sure it's secured to the wall. And don't allow your babies to climb on them.
8 Flat Screen TVs
Television sets have always posed a risk for children. If they sat to closely to them, they could damage their eyes. If they tugged on the cords, they could electrocute themselves. But given the wide base of old model TVs, you didn't often hear of kids being crushed by them.
Today, most people have flat screen TVs. You'd think that the thinner, lighter TVs would be even less dangerous, but that's not true. Because of the thin base, free standing flat screens, which are still way heavier than small kids, are actually easier to overturn. And if your TV is mounted incorrectly on the wall, it can still harm the child if it were to fall.
7 Bath Tubs
It's pretty much a given that you should never leave a baby near any standing water. This is especially true in the case of bath tubs. But you also have to be mindful of young children, especially those under five. It doesn't matter how mature your child seems, or how much they enjoy bath time, you should never leave them near water unattended.
Unfortunately, some parents or caregivers are too lax when it comes to bath time. They might see bath time as a chance to relax for a few minutes or check their phone. Or, they might put too much faith in those fancy bath seats that are supposed to secure a child into place. But as this Today article put it, "No product can replace adult supervision."
6 Washing Machines
For some reason, small children don't see washing machines as appliances used to clean their clothes. They see them as playgrounds. They seem them as cool things that spins their clothes and makes funny sounds. That's why so many children have climbed inside while unattended, thinking that they were in for a fun time, only to end up seriously injured. In some cases, they even drowned to death.
It's important to teach kids, early on, that washing machines are not toys. And that they should never, under any circumstance, go near them or climb inside.
5 Cleaning Products
Kids are notorious for putting any and everything into their mouths. Food, non food, it doesn't matter. It if looks interesting to them, they're going to try to taste it. It's a natural part of how they learn and explore the world, but it can put them in harm's way.
That's why cleaning products are some of the most dangerous household items for babies and children. They're filled with strong chemicals that can be lethal if ingested. They might also be corrosive or combustible. And some of them come in containers that make it hard to distinguish them from juice or other beverages, making them especially attractive to kids. If you have cleaning products, make sure to keep them up high and locked away in a place your kids know nothing about.
Like we said above, babies love to put things into their mouths. Since babies are attracted to shiny, colorful objects, loose change is especially tempting for them.
Outside of the obvious choking hazard, change is also full of metals that aren't good for the digestive system. Not to mention, money is one of the dirtiest things we handle from day to day. Do your baby a solid and keep your change out of their reach.
Most homes are filled with medicines of some kind. This might be something over the counter like Tylenol or Advil, or prescription medicine for any number of ailments. Because of this, it's easy for curious children to overdose on strong drugs. And given a child's small stature and undeveloped digestive system, it's easier for them to succumb to their complications.
Unfortunately, storing your medicine in a medicine cabinet isn't doing enough. You should keep your medicine in a locked box that the kids can't access.
Over 12,000 people die from falling down the steps each year in the U.S alone! Most of the deaths are caused by brain and head injuries, sustained from the fall. This makes stairs especially dangerous for babies and toddlers, because they don't have the best handle on their legs yet. Some of them are still in the crawling/scooting stage. Some are just learning how to walk. And the ones who already can walk aren't pros at it yet.
It's crucial to ward off stair entrances and exits with baby gates. They're nearly impossible for a baby for unlock and fall through, meaning that you can spend less time worrying about your baby and more time enjoying them.
1 Blind Cords
Blinds might seem like a harmless household item, but they're actually one of the most deadly, due to the ease in which a child can get strangled from their cords. Between 1990 and 2015 17,000 kids were sent to the emergency room because of blind-related injuries. That averages out to 850 injuries per year. Some of those kids, unfortunately, didn't survive.
Since blinds are a fixture in pretty much every modern home, you might feel helpless to keep your child safe, but you don't have to! Pop Sugar suggests that you invest in cord cleats, which basically wrap up the unused, hanging portion of the cord. But there's also always just cutting the cord off altogether. It may deem your blinds unusable, but at least you'll have your peace of mind...and your healthy, happy child.