Often Unrecognized Safety Hazards in the Household
Accidents can happen in an instant. While most household hazards are commonly known and precautions are common sense; there are hazards that need extra precautions to protect the children in your home.
**Each year over 569 children die from strangulation, suffocation, and entrapment in household appliances. (Retrieved from http://www.chw.org/display/PPF/DocID/22711/router.asp 2014)
Foster homes must be especially aware of hazards in the home therefore we have compiled a list of household hazards not always on our radar and ways to keep the children in your home safe.
1. The Stove: stove knobs and oven doors are a temptation for curious little ones learning to tune fine motor skills and are easily turned or opened. Safety locks designed specifically for stoves can prevent a child from climbing into the oven causing possible suffocation or being burned. (Cost range from $5 to $25)
2. Dishwasher: like the stove; dishwasher doors are easily opened and a child can climb into if not locked when not in use.)
3. Toy Chests: Like stoves and dishwashers, not having safety latches installed to prevent the lid from closing on toy chests can be very dangerous, easily trapping a small child inside.
4. Cords or wires: long cords present a tripping or choking hazard. A small child can easily get caught in cords and become tangled causing injury even death from strangulation. Prevention is as simple as winding corns up tight and attaching zip or twist ties.
5. Window blind and curtain cords: if too long, blind and curtain cords are a choking hazard. It is suggested that these cords are wound up to a length no longer than 7 inches.
6. Televisions Dressers: Children love to climb. By securing the dresser to the wall and installing drawer latches an injury from the dresser falling over can be prevented. A U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report showed that between 2000 and 2011 349 people were killed by a falling television, appliance or piece of furniture; 84 percent of them were children under 9 years old. Televisions were most deadly, accounting for 62 percent of these fatalities. (Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/tipping-televisions-kill-record-number-of-us-kids-govt-warns/ 2014) The CPSC reports that between 2006 and 2011 more than 100,000 injuries occurred from tipped TVs. From 2000 to 2011, falling TV’s caused 215 deaths; 96 percent of those fatalities were children younger than 10.
7. Swing sets: Children can be injured by wrapping rope or chain around the body or neck. It is important to talk to the children placed in your home about these dangers. After time, swing materials begin to deteriorate, crack or fray. Check regularly and replace if needed.
8. Houseplants: some house plants can be potentially poisonous. Best practice is to keep them out of reach of children. When purchasing, ask store clerk if a plant poses a danger of poison.
9. Pets: Children are very curious and love to touch animals. Some children are afraid of animals. Some animals are fearful of children. Best practice when bringing a foster child into the home is to introduce the child to the family dog or cat slowly. Show them the animal is safe and teach them safe ways to touch an animal.
10. Overloaded electrical sockets and electrical wires running under carpets can pose a huge fire danger.
11. Toilets: Seats and covers can cause injury to little hands when they fall down quickly. The best way to avoid these injuries is to teach family members to put the seat and lid down when they are finished using the toilet.
12. Glass doors: Children can run into glass doors thinking they are open. There is always a chance the glass can shatter causing serious injury. Children love stickers; one way to reduce injuries is to put colorful stickers on the glass at different levels. Letting the children help place the stickers on the glass door also helps them to be more alert when the door closed.
13. The garbage can: germs and bacteria grow on waste and can be transmitted to little hands easily. Having a tight fitting lid can reduce chances of transmission.