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7 Household Items That Are Surprisingly Dangerous To Kids
Childproofing your home comes with a few standard responsibilities: Bleach? Locked up tight. Stairs? Gated! Outlets, cables, and cords? Covered or corralled.
But did you know there are other, less obviously hazardous household items that can cause serious injury to your child? We're talking about toddlers, preschoolers, and younger grade-schoolers who love to climb high, open everything in sight—and then crawl inside.
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To stave off any mad dashes to the ER, be aware of these seven household items that need your immediate attention. Be certain they're secured, removed, or stashed away until your kids outgrow this problematic phase.
1. Window blind cords
Corded blinds and shades with exposed strings pose a real strangulation risk to young kids. A recent study found that over 16,000 children were treated in the ER from 1990 to 2015 because of injuries related to these dangerous cords.
"The problem of blind cords peaks between ages 1 and 4 as toddlers gain mobility and become curious about their surroundings," explains Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, OH.
Even more unsettling: According to the study, most serious injuries occurred when kids were under their parents' care but had been left alone for less than 10 minutes.
It's time to swap out the blinds in kids' bedrooms and the playroom, experts urge.
"Roller shades are an excellent alternative," says Lisa Pinnell, founder of BinxyBaby.com.
So, too, are the numerous cordless and remote-controlled shades on the market now, adds Karen Gray-Plaisted of KGP Design Solutions. "Or install pull-across drapes with sturdy hardware," she says.
2. Tall furniture
Bookcases, armoires, highboys, china cabinets—you name it, if it's taller than it is wide, it's inherently unstable, says Darla DeMorrow, author of "Organizing Your Home With Sort and Succeed".
In fact, toppling furniture injures 71 kids every day and kills a child every two weeks, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
"Most accidents happen when unsecured pieces fall over or a child pulls the item onto himself," notes Smith. Other tip-over causes include children climbing the furniture or pushing it over and onto another kid.
"People either don't know how easy it is to secure large items or they have an irrational fear of putting holes in their walls," DeMorrow says.
Either way, no excuses—tall furniture must be bracketed, braced, or strapped to the wall to prevent tip-overs. Some safety straps don't even require drilling holes and can secure items that weigh up to 100 pounds, Smith says.
3. Glass coffee tables
Glass tables are stylish, but it's hard for tots to see where the edges are, DeMorrow notes. And because kids love to chase one another around furniture, the sharp corners of any square coffee table could cause trouble, Pinnell adds.
The fix? Corner guards, which are sold at most hardware stores.
If you must choose a glass-topped table, the safest one is made from tempered glass, which will break into many small pieces instead of large shards that could be deadly, Pinnell says.
4. Storage ottomans and steamer trunks
Storage ottomans, blanket chests, steamer trunks—these are all prime real estate during games of hide-and-seek. Subsequently they are prime spots for children to get trapped or get their hands and fingers smashed by lids that snap shut.
Keep your storage pieces full of stuff so kids won't be tempted to crawl inside in the first place, DeMorrow recommends. And shop for ottomans that have a "soft close"—this way, fingers won't get pinched the way they might with a heavy, slam-shut lid.
5. Cheval mirror
Photo by Woodprojects
These long mirrors, mounted on a swivel in a frame, seem harmless, but kids don't always realize the main part swings up and down, DeMorrow explains. Children might lean or swing on it and then end up banging their head, or end up caught between the mirror and the frame.
Your best bet is to put this item away and mount a mirror on the wall or the back of a closet door instead.
6. Free-standing TVs
In the same way that tall furniture can topple over, TVs that sit atop stands can come crashing down on young kids. In fact, falling furniture accounts for 52% of injuries, but TVs that tumble are responsible for 62% of fatalities, according to the CPSC.
"Placing a TV on a low, strong base may keep the item steady on the stand, but because newer flat screens are lightweight, kids can still pull them over rather easily," Pinnell explains.
For that reason, the best place for your TV is mounted to the wall. If you still have an older CRT (cathode-ray tube) model in your bedroom or basement, make sure it's properly anchored. Or recycle this dinosaur by finding an appropriate location at GreenerGadgets.org.
If you decide to keep your TV on a stand, keep remotes, toys, and other smaller items away so your kids won't be tempted to go grabbing for them in the first place.
7. Dresser drawers
When kids pull out bureau drawers, they quickly become makeshift steps—and tots climb right to the top.
To curb this behavior, install locks or stops so kids can't yank the drawers open, and be sure to store any heavy items in the lower sections to keep the dresser from being top-heavy.
Jennifer Kelly Geddes creates content for Chewy.com, the National Sleep Foundation, Fisher-Price, and Mastercard.Follow @jkgeddes
Jon P. Wise believes customer service is a priority in building a successful business. He strives to ascertain the needs and wants of each client and then uses his knowledge and expertise to make th....
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