September is Baby Safety Month #bsm2023, and to honor that, let’s talk about some hidden hazards you probably have in your home RIGHT NOW!
We often underestimate how much a baby (x2) can move around. We live a very fairy tale-ish life, where we often hear about tragedy and feel sympathy but also tell ourselves, “That won’t happen to me.”
The reality is, these are the famous last words of someone who just experienced something tragic. So, let’s practice, “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” You should never assume your house is safe unless you’ve done the work to make sure it’s that way. Prepare for roaming kiddos, and you’ll never be sorry for the time you spent making sure your home is ready for tiny humans.
Need some baby safety training? Take the Twiniversity Complete Baby Safety course, offered on-demand. Includes video modules on infant, toddler, and child CPR, first aid, and common medical ailments, plus car seat installation and safety and childproofing your home. Click here to learn more!
I’m sure you, like the rest of the twin world, saw the horrible news about the 4-year-old twins in Jacksonville, FL. Absolutely horrible, tragic, earth-shattering, and every other adjective out there that holds the gravity of the situation. This story, in addition to Baby Safety Month, prompted us to get this out to you right away. So, please, take a moment and read this from top to bottom and share it with ANY and ALL family members, friends, and anyone else who needs a reminder that accidents really can happen.
Be cautious of button/coin batteries
Button batteries are totally hidden hazards. They are flat, round batteries that resemble coins or buttons found in common household items and even some kid’s toys. The biggest danger posed by button batteries is swallowing them, which can cause serious internal damage or even death.
If you have button batteries in your home, make sure to keep them out of reach of children, and always check that battery compartments are securely closed. Additionally, never allow children to play with old or damaged batteries, as they can be especially hazardous.
The #1 trusted battery brand, Duracell, has a tradition of investing in child safety, specifically for its lithium coin batteries. Its latest innovation is a bitter coating on the cell that is designed to help discourage swallowing. Duracell also features child-secure packaging, which makes it nearly impossible to open with bare hands (almost impossible for twin moms, too…trust us!).
Magnets can be a danger
Small magnets are hidden hazards that children can easily swallow. Once inside the body, they can attract each other and cause significant (and extensive) damage by pinching internal organs. Keep magnets out of reach at all times. If you fear your child has swallowed a magnet, seek medical attention immediately.
Pot handles should be turned in
Pot handles are one of the most common hidden hazards in the kitchen. Hot pot handles can cause serious burns if touched without proper protection or knocked over, causing the contents to spill on your children. To avoid this hazard, turn the pot handles inward towards the back where little ones can not reach up and grab them.
Laundry/Dishwasher pods should be kept out of reach
Household cleaning products can contain a variety of dangerous chemicals and fumes that can be harmful if inhaled or ingested. One potential hazard that can go unnoticed is laundry and dishwasher pods. Many of these pods are brightly colored and have a squishy consistency, which makes them look like candy. If ingested, laundry and dishwasher pods can cause serious injury or death. There have been over 5,695 cases of this happening. Don’t add to that number in your home. To keep your home safe, make sure to store all cleaning products up high and out of reach of children.
Cords (blinds, curtains, electrical) need to be safely stored
Cords are a hazard that can be found in almost any home. From the cords used to open and close blinds and curtains to electrical cords running throughout the house, they pose a serious strangulation risk if not handled properly.
To keep your home safe, make sure that all blind and curtain cords are secured high up on the wall or window frame, out of reach of children.
Additionally, electrical cords can be hazardous if not managed responsibly. Make sure all electrical cords are kept away from water sources, and never allow any frayed cords to remain in use. Please make sure you check out this article on newborn twin safety to ensure that your nursery is safe for your twins.
ALL furniture needs to be secured
Tipovers are a leading cause of injury to children. The best way to avoid them is to ensure all furniture items and electronics are secured to the wall correctly using the appropriate tools.
We don’t need to say anymore other than, “Watch this from the BBC.”. Warning: They did get hurt, but they are okay.
Hope Chests should NEVER be used for children
Hope chests, also known as cedar chests, have a long history of being used to store treasured memories, special items, and heirlooms. Unfortunately, these beloved furniture pieces are a hidden hazard in the home. The size and design of these chests scream “climb in” to young kids. However, if your child becomes trapped inside, they could suffocate. These pieces of furniture are not, nor have even been, created to be used as storage in a child’s room.
If you have an old hope chest, make sure to always keep it locked and out of reach of children. If your hope chest is a hand-me-down (which is not uncommon), keep in mind that if it was made before 1987, it could have a faulty lock.
Purse/Diaper Bag should be inspected for hazards
The bag you carry with you daily is probably filled with 20,000 things “just in case” you need them. You might have everything from safety pins, to heartburn medication to old bandaids. Purses hold a ton of important items. Unfortunately, it can also hold some hidden hazards that can cause harm if they end up in the hands of a small child. Loose change, small candy, and some makeup are just a few of the items that can be potential hidden hazards in your purse. Follow this rule of thumb: If it can fit through the tube of a roll of toilet paper, then it is not safe for your child to handle. So be thoughtful about what you put in your bag and where you store it when not being used.
House Plants can be hazardous
Plants have become VERY trendy lately. There are a zillion viral videos about growing mega houseplants, and yes, they are magnificent, but did you know that some plants and soils can be toxic? Check what you have in your home right now and see if it poses a danger to your children if ingested. Some toxic house plants include philodendron, Peace Lily, Caladium, Pothos, Arrowhead, and some species of Ivy. If you are unsure what houseplants you have, you should consider talking with an experienced gardener to find out what they are and if they have any potential hazards.
The sheer weight of houseplants also poses a danger to children. They should be secured like any other furniture so they can never tip over and injure a tiny human.
Pets should always be watched.
Pets make great companions, but they can be a hidden hazard in your house as well. In 2020 alone, according to the CDC, there were 60,996 “non-lethal” dog bites reported by doctors and/or hospitals. Within our Twiniversity community, we’ve known of a few dogs who’ve attacked children in their homes. One in particular needed life-saving brain surgery and suffered permanent damage.
I’m positive that every single parent of those children would not have wished those injuries on them. But please, don’t be delusional. At the end of the day, our pets are still animals. Make sure to keep a close eye on your pets when children are around (and not just when they are infants and toddlers). If you notice any signs of aggression, remove the pet from the situation immediately. Do not WAIT for your dog to bite your child.
Pet owners should ensure their animals are up-to-date on all vaccinations and flea/tick treatments to reduce the risk of bites or scratches if they should happen.
It is also important to inspect pet toys and food and keep them away from small children. These, too, can become potential choking hazards. And, if you have a pet door, please secure it properly so that small animals or pests cannot enter the home, and so your child can’t escape through it as well.
Baby Safety Month is a great time to double-check (and triple-check) all the hidden hazards in your home and make sure your little ones are as safe as possible. Taking a few minutes now can help you avoid a lot later! By keeping your home safe and free from potential hazards, you can ensure that your little ones can play and explore in a safe environment.
Remember, safety starts at home!