Tag: home safety

Keep Your Kids Safe from These Hidden Dangers

Did you know that you could break your child's leg while going down a slide together?
Did you know that you could break your child’s leg while going down a slide together?

Accidents are the leading cause of death for kids, with drownings, car accidents, fires, shootings, and poisonings at the top of the list.

But that doesn’t mean that you should ignore all of the other less common causes of accidents.

Did you know that riding down a slide with your kid on your lap is a common way to break their ankle or leg?

If you did, would you still ride down with them?

You can see Meadow’s leg breaking (her foot is going in the wrong direction) as she is going down the slide with her mom. Few people know this can happen and we are lucky that Meadow’s mom continues to tell her story, so that we don’t have to worry about unintentionally hurting our kids.

A few weeks later, another mom posted a video of her son’s leg breaking as they went down a slide in the UK.

Surprisingly, the AAP has actually already warned parents that “going down a slide on a parent’s lap can lead to a broken leg for small children.”

Did you know about that warning?

Keep Your Kids Safe from These Hidden Dangers

Tragically, there are other parents out there that have stories to tell about all of the other hazards listed below.

You can’t raise your kids in a bubble, but just remember that the more risks that you take, then the more likely it is that your kids will eventually get hurt.

Be careful and be mindful of these often overlooked dangers:

  • TV and furniture tip-oversanchor furniture and TVs so that they don’t tip over and hurt your kids
  • ATVs – as injuries and deaths continue, the AAP continues to say that children and teens under age 16 years should not ride on all-terrain vehicles
  • hands, feet, untied shoes, or sandals that get trapped in escalators – tie shoes, stand in the center of the step, and hold the rail
  • elevators
  • falls from shopping carts – kids are frequently hurt in shopping cart falls and tip over incidents, which is why you shouldn’t let your kids ride in  or on a shopping cart
  • inflatable slides and bounce houses – videos of bounce houses flying away are certainly rare examples of safety hazards, but as the use of these inflatables because more common, so do the injuries
  • glass-topped tables – avoid if not made with tempered glass
  • inflatable air mattresses – suffocation danger for infants and younger toddlers if put to sleep on an air mattress
  • bunk beds – should have a guardrail on the top bunk, which should be restricted to kids who are at least 6-years-old
  • high water – don’t drive through high water – Turn Around Don’t Drown – and watch for hazards, like downed power lines, during flooding after storms
  • parade floats – falls from parade floats and kids getting run over near parade floats makes planning and supervision important
  • portable pools
  • recalled or broken toys – a toy that has broken might reveal small parts that can be a choking hazard, lead paint that can be ingested, or sharp edges
  • home exercise equipment – young kids can get injured on your stair climber, treadmill, or stationary bike
  • toys with small parts – choking hazard, which makes it important to buy your kids age-appropriate toys
  • lawn mowerslawn mowers are dangerous and cause a lot of injuries, often when you run over a younger child that you didn’t know was there. Keep in mind that the AAP recommends minimum ages of 12 years to use a push mower and 16 to use a riding mower.
  • magnets – can lead to serious intestinal injuries if two or more magnets are swallowed
  • hoverboards – can overheat while be charged, causing fires
  • clothing – hood and neck drawstrings are a safety hazard and should be cut from young children’s clothing
  • paper shredders
  • window blind cords – kids still die after getting strangled in window blind cords
  • balloons – it is important to remember that balloons are a choking hazard for young kids, as they can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons.
  • pool, spa, and hot tub drains – faulty drain covers can lead to drownings if a child gets stuck to a hot tub drain. Teach your kids to stay away from drains and make sure drain grates or covers meet the latest safety standards.
  • liquid nicotine for e-cigarettes – can be ingested by young children if not stored in a secure place
  • laundry detergent pods – don’t let your kids eat them
  • poisons – household products and medications commonly poison kids and should be stored properly
  • home trampolines – should not be used and can lead to injuries, even when you think you are using them safely
  • BB guns – non-powder guns can serious injure kids and shouldn’t be used by younger kids or without adult supervision
  • loud toys – listen to toys before you let your kids play with them, as some toys with sirens, etc., can get very loud, especially if your child holds it up to their ear
  • windows – install window guards and stops to prevent falls from windows above the first floor because kids can’t fly
  • digging in the sand – playing in the sand is great fun and still safe, as long your kids don’t try to build deep holes that are deeper than their knees, cave-like structures, or tunnels that they crawl into, as these can suddenly collapse on top of them
  • cedar chests – kids have suffocated in cedar chests that lock automatically when closed
  • playgrounds – too little shock-absorbing surface, ropes on playground equipment (strangulation hazard), sharp edges, tripping hazards, and uncoated metal that can get hot and burn in the summer

Keep your kids safe.

Don’t overlook these hidden dangers.

More on Hidden Risks and Dangers to Kids

Why Have We Let High-Powered Magnets Be a Hazard to Our Kids for so Long?

We have been warning parents about high-powered magnets since 2007!

That’s when the first complaints started coming into the Consumer Product Safety Commission about kids swallowing small magnets that were falling out of toys or that were actually sold as toys to create patterns and build shapes.

Remember Buckyballs and Buckycubes?

The CPSC issued their first safety alert about magnets in 2007, after a 20-month-old died.
The CPSC issued their first safety alert about magnets in 2007, after a 20-month-old died.

They issued another magnet safety alert in 2011, when they found that incidents of children ingesting these high-powered magnets were increasing each year, with reports of 22 incidents between 2007 and 2009, including 11 of which required surgical removal of the magnets.

Next, in 2012, we heard about a 3-year-old who required emergency surgery after swallowing 37 magnets!

High-Powered Magnet Dangers

Unfortunately, when kids swallow more than one of the small, 5mm magnets, they can attract each other through the walls of the child’s intestine. And this is what happened to the little girl who swallowed 37 Buckyballs. She required emergency surgery to repair perforations in her stomach and intestines.

Call poison control or seek immediate medical attention if your child swallows a magnet.
Call poison control or seek immediate medical attention if your child swallows a magnet.

This led to a recall of Buckyballs, but surprisingly, their importer, Maxfield & Oberton LLC, refused to participate in the recall, even though the CPSC “has received 54 reports of children and teens ingesting this product, with 53 of these requiring medical interventions.”

Another death, a 19-month-old girl and an estimated 2,900 emergency room-treated injuries between 2009 and 2013 led the CPSC to create a new safety rule for high-powered magnet sets.

Unfortunately, a Federal Court put aside that safety rule, so that you can still buy these dangerous high-powdered magnets.

And many of you likely did, as Christmas gifts.

And some of you have likely already been to the ER after a child in your home swallowed those high-powered magnets.

Be warned. If you have kids in the house, those “Mashable, Smashable, Rollable, Buildable Magnets” could end up in their mouth and getting swallowed.

Remember, as we have been warning folks for at least 10 years, even though they are sold as “Magnetic Toys,” these high-powered magnets are not good choices for kids.

What to Know About the Dangers of High-Powered Magnets

High-powered magnets don’t make good toys for kids. Understand the risks if you have them in your home and be sure to seek immediate medical attention if your child swallows a magnet.

More on the Dangers of High-Powered Magnets

Multiple Layers of Protection Can Keep Your Kids Safe

Parents are well aware of the need to use protection to keep important things safe.

After all, we build our homes thinking about fire protection, with firewalls and smoke detectors, plug our computers into surge protectors, and use virus protection software on our computers.

The same type of protection, usually grouped into a layers of protection plan, can also help keep your kids safe.

Layers of Protection

Using a layers of protection approach to child safety means using more than type of child safety technique, barrier, or warning, as a protection against a specific hazard. That way, if one protective layer breaks down, then one of the other layers of protection will still be in place to keep your kids safe.

Of course these layers of protection aren’t meant to keep your kids safe forever. They can buy you some time though if your child gets away from you for a few moments.

“…parents ought to appreciate the importance of applying multiple injury prevention strategies to a single category of risk, to provide children with layers of protection.”

Mark Widome, MD

Although often used in connection with the pool safety campaigns of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, it was mentioned as early as 1992 by Mark Widome, MD, who is on the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Injury, Violence & Poison Prevention.

Layers of Protection for Water Safety

The concept of using layers of protection is often easiest to see when you think about water safety.

Consider some common drowning scenarios:

  • A 23-month-old in Redford Township near Detroit, Michigan, drowned by getting out of the house (the family was visiting friends) and climbing a ladder into an above-ground pool that only had about two feet of water in it.
  • A 3-year-old drowned in La Plata, Maryland during a birthday party while several other people were in the pool. When some started to get out of the pool, they noticed the child at the bottom of the deep end of the pool.
  • An 8-year-old drowned in a busy community pool near Indianapolis, IN.

To help prevent these types of drownings, the CPSC and the AAP recommend a layers of protection plan for water and pool safety, that includes:

  • close, constant, direct supervision of small children near water, whether it is a lake, pond, in-ground pool, spa, large portable pool, small wading pool, bathtub, or even a large bucket of water, etc.
  • closer “touch supervision” whenever an infant, toddler, or older child who is a weak swimmer is in the water, meaning that you are within an arm’s length of the child at all times.
  • installing a climb resistant isolation fence (a 4-sided fence that doesn’t allow direct access to the pool from inside the house) around backyard pools with a self-closing and self-latching gate.
  • adding a door alarm so that you know if your kids get out of the house and into the backyard, especially if your house makes up one of the four sides of the fence around your pool. A gate or pool alarm might also be useful.
  • making younger children wear a coast guard approved personal flotation device if they don’t know how to swim well and not just air-filled arm floaties. They should wear their personal flotation device whenever they are by the water, even if they are not swimming.
  • teaching kids to learn to swim, especially once they are 4-years-old, keeping in mind that knowing how to swim does not make your child drown-proof.
  • learning CPR, having a flotation device, and a telephone by the pool in case there is an emergency.

Also be sure to empty buckets of water, the bathtub, small kiddie wading pools, and other things with water when you are not using them.

Layers of Protection Work

How do the layers of protection work to reduce the risks of a drowning?

Consider a house with a fully childproofed pool. It has a 4-sided fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate. The door leading to the backyard is childproofed so that the twin toddlers who live in the home can’t open it. During a recent pool party, they even have a designated adult watching the kids in the pool.

When that person has to go to the bathroom, she asks someone else to take over. The new watcher isn’t as responsible though and gets distracted when he gets a phone call (one layer gone). One of the twins who had been inside, decides she wants to swim again. She walks to the backyard right through the door that someone had left open (another layer gone), through the open gate (yet another layer gone), and jumps into the pool without anyone seeing her.

The gate to the pool had been propped open during the party because people got tired of opening it every time they went from the pool to the house, and unfortunately, this breakdown in pool safety is a common way that kids drown. Fortunately, because the parents were using a layers of protection plan, the child was still safe, as she was still wearing her personal flotation device (last layer intact).

Layers of Protection for Home Safety

How can the layers of protection protect your kids at home?

For one thing, you can simply get rid of some of the things that are unsafe around kids, such as poisonous plants, unused household cleaners or poisons, and recalled products.

Next, add a few extra layers of protection when childproofing the house, since you can’t be expected to supervise your kids every second of the day:

  • install child-resistant door knob covers so that kids can’t get into rooms that are hard to child proof, like the bathroom
  • set the temperature of your hot water heater to 120 degrees, so that if your child does get into the bathroom and turns on the water he won’t get burned
  • store household cleaners and other poisonous substances in a high, out of reach location and then put a child-resistant lock on the cabinet for an extra layer of protection
  • place TVs and other appliances on stable furniture that won’t easily tip over, but as an extra layer of protection, anchor both the TV and furniture to the wall
  • lock your car so that your kids can’t get back in (hot cars, especially getting trapped in the trunk, is a common hidden danger for kids), and then secure your keys for an extra layer of protection

The layers of protection idea can even apply to car safety, In addition to an age appropriate car seat, booster seat, or seat belts, and keeping your kids in the back seat until they are at least 13-years-old, you can add to your family’s safety in the car by not getting distracted talking on your phone or texting.

What extra layers of protection can you add to other risks in and around your home?

More Information On Layers of Protection