The Surprising Safety Hazards That Can Hurt Your Kids

We guarantee your kids are around these potential safety hazards almost everyday. Parents, this is a must-read.

January 27, 2017
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As parents, we know that kids tend to get into everything, but somehow we always end up being surprised when our children find a new way to get themselves hurt.

Believe it or not, there are some unexpected things in your home that are way more dangerous than you ever thought they could be.

Dishwashers

Parents know that kids love to climb, and a dishwasher handle might as well come with an invitation for them to pull on it. Doing so could immediately result in the dishwasher door crashing down on their heads, but there are far worse consequences, too.

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Any kids that do manage to get the door open could immediately have access to sharp knives and pointy forks, as well as tons of glass items that could easily break if dropped.

There’s also the danger of dishwasher detergents and powder packs, which could cause severe irritation if they make contact with the skin and eyes, and eat away at the mouth and throat if swallowed.

The solution?

When loading the dishwasher, make sure your forks and knives are pointing down. You should also avoid putting any liquid or powder detergents into the machine until you’re actually ready to run it. 

If you can latch your dishwasher closed when it’s not in use, make sure you do.

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Later in this article, you’ll learn about more household appliances that are dangerous in ways you wouldn’t think.

Cribs

You’d think that something meant for a baby to be for extended periods of time would be pretty safe, but that’s not always the case.

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For the most part, cribs aren’t usually dangerous on their own unless parents forget to adjust them as their child grows—instead, the real trouble lies in the things parents put into them.

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It may seem intuitive to surround your baby in plush, cozy blankets and pillows while they sleep—hey, it’s what we like as adults, right?—but these items can easily form-fit to your baby’s face and cause them to suffocate. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that at least 900 babies die each year due to suffocation from plush bedding.

The solution?

Babies should sleep on their backs on firm mattresses—use sheets and mattress pads if you want, but only if they’re tight-fitting.

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Keep toys, comforters, and pillows out of the crib until they’re at least a year old, and only use bumper pads that aren’t super thick. Any blankets you use should be lightweight, but you can avoid using them at all by putting your baby in a sleeper suit before bed.

Hand-Me-Downs

Hand-me-down clothes and toys can be a lifesaver for any new parent, but using them means you could be inheriting any problems these items have.

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Used baby equipment from years past might not be up to current safety standards, and it’s not always easy to tell if something is broken or missing a piece—that is, until it unexpectedly breaks while your baby’s using it. Even something as small as a loose safety strap could allow your baby to wriggle out of their seat or swing and get stuck.

The solution?

Before using any baby items given to you from a friend or family member, look over them carefully to make sure everything is still being held together as it should be and no crucial pieces are missing.

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Any cords or straps should be around seven inches or less in length, and any fraying strings should be removed. You should also keep children away from older toys that are painted or made of metal, as the paint could be lead-based.

Bathrooms

There are tons of products out there designed to make it easier to give your baby a bath, but they’re probably not as safe as you’d think they are.

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Bath rings and seats are both popular items that help keep babies sitting upright while they’re in the tub, and some parents who use them probably think they can walk away from the tub for a few seconds without anything going wrong.

In reality, though, the suction cups that are often used to hold the seats in please could easily come loose, allowing your baby to tip the seat over in just a few seconds. In fact, the CPSC reported that 106 babies drowned because their bath rings tipped over from 1983 to 2003.

The solution?

Just because your baby is sitting in a bath seat or ring doesn’t mean they’re completely protected from harm. Parents should not leave their babies unattended while they’re in the bathtub, no matter how secure they seem at the time.

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You should also make sure any bath products you have are out of your baby’s reach so they don’t accidentally ingest them.

Pets

You might think that your family pet will take no issue with your newest addition, but this isn’t always the case.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) has reported that around 100,000 children end up in the emergency room annually due to dog-related injuries.

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Young kids don’t know any better when it comes to pulling Fido’s tail or sticking their little hands into his food bowl, and there’s no guarantee he’ll take kindly to either. Not to mention that your baby might find it interesting to eat your pet’s food or chew on its toys, both of which could be a potential choking hazard.

The solution?

Introduce your baby to your pets gradually, and never leave the two alone together. It’s also important to continuously teach your kids to be gentle with animals, including no hitting, no tail pulling, and leaving them alone while eating.

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You should also keep toys and pet food off the floor when they’re not being used, and try to avoid buying smaller toys until your child is older.

Car Windows

We can all probably remember a time when we were kids and decided that playing with the automatic windows in the car was a good idea. You put your fingers over the glass, seeing how long you could hold them there before chickening out as the window came higher up.

Though daring, it’s definitely not a smart move—it shouldn’t be any surprise that hundreds of kids end up at urgent care each year for crushed arms and fingers. There’s also the immense danger that comes when kids lean out the window and accidentally hit the switch, getting their torsos, necks, and heads stuck.

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According to the nonprofit group Kids and Cars, approximately 28 children have reportedly died in this very way.

The solution?

Child locks are there for a reason—use them! The window lock feature has become an increasingly common feature in cars, and they could easily help prevent something tragic from happening.

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If you have all of the windows rolled down, make sure you ask your kids to bring their hands, arms, and heads inside before you roll them up.

Purses

Women often joke about the wide range of things you can find in their purses, and that’s exactly why you should keep the prying hands of kids out of them. However, there are many people who wouldn’t think about the harm that could come from a child digging in their bag.

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Purses can contain medicine, hard candies, cosmetics, safety pins, pens—all things that could easily cause a child harm within seconds.

Children could even potentially try to grab a purse strap and cause the whole bag to crash down on their heads. Grabbing at a purse hanging off the side of a chair could even send that toppling over in the blink of an eye.

The solution?

Keep your bags in a room your child can’t enter or on some type of hook that they can’t reach. When you have guests over, make sure to keep all of the bags and coats in a separate room and keep the door closed so curious kids stay out.

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Kitchen Appliances

We already know that the dishwasher isn’t as innocent as it seems, but what about everything else in your kitchen?

Aside from the basics—you know, keeping your child away from a hot stove and making sure cleaning products are out of sight—there are plenty of things to look out for in this room of your home.

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It’s important to prevent your kids from climbing on appliances as they could easily knock something over if it’s not properly secured. When cooking, kids could even make a grab for an exposed pan handle and accidentally douse themselves with hot water, oil, or sauce.

The solution?

In addition to teaching your kids that appliances aren’t for climbing, install anti-tip bracket systems on your appliances if you can so they won’t topple over if your kids decide to briefly experiment with fridge climbing.

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You should also keep kids at a safe distance while you’re baking or cooking to prevent spills and burns.

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