The following post contains affiliate links, however all opinions remain my own. For more information, see my full disclosure policy.
Children (particularly toddlers and babies) have a way of getting into everything. Cabinets, drawers, important paperwork… nothing is off limits to what they want to play with (if anything like my son, the more dangerous, the more he seems to want it). So, we add cabinet and toilet locks, put our cleaning chemicals up high, add bumpers and and guard to prevent injury and make our lives as parents less stressful (see why I changed my mind on not babyproofing). There are some things we just don’t think about when it comes to babyproofing – whether it’s because we didn’t think something was dangerous or it just didn’t cross our minds. But ignorance is not always bliss when it comes to your child’s safety (oh how I wish it was)! Here are six additional things in your home that may pose a threat to your child.
Laundry and dishwasher pods are a convenient way to get your chores done. You just pop in a pod and you’re good to go – no measuring required, no lifting or scooping. It’s probably not a surprise to most parents that laundry pods are poisonous – and yet 17,230 children under the age of 6 were accidentally poisoned by the packets between March 2013 and April 2014. The pods are often colorful and compact – and therein lies one of the problems. The pods look a lot like candy. Consumer Reports has a great picture highlighting exactly this problem. What was candy and what was a laundry pod wasn’t absolutely clear just by glancing. So imagine how they look to a 1 or 2 year old. Make sure to keep these out of reach of children at all times, and consider repackaging them into something more difficult for a child to open such as a tightly sealed mason jar, or even a lockbox if your child is sneaky. Add the pod to the laundry last and immediately close the lid. Don’t leave it on the washer while you sort clothes. Kids are quick.
– My son loves anything that adults are interested in. Food, cups, plates, toilet scrubbers, and remotes. At first glance, the remote doesn’t seem like something that could cause harm to your child. Sure, it’s annoying if they change the channel, but other than that it doesn’t seem that bad. It’s actually the batteries that are the big issue. If they manage to get the batteries out and swallow them it can cause severe internal injuries. (Swallowing batteries is a medical emergency!) Best just to keep these (And any batteries) away from children.
– It seems to be a universal fact that babies love keys. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re shiny, make a jingly sound, or if it’s because adults love them and just won’t seem to share with baby. The baby safe keys I got for my l’il bub just don’t seem to cut it. Metal keys, however, can be a safety hazard for baby, especially when they’re put in the mouth. Keys are typically made from steel or brass – which may contain traces of lead. Lead exposure often presents no symptoms, but can wreak havoc on every system in the body, particularly the brain. Additionally, sharp edges can irritate or cut baby’s gums. Luckily, there are baby safe metal keys on the market. B. Toys makes LucKeys Toy Car Keys (affiliate link), a cute stainless steel key ring that lights up, and Kleynimals specializes in safe, cute, animal keyrings that have the familiar shape and feel of your keys.
Indoor Air Quality
– When the word pollution is thrown around, most people think of smog covered cities, but indoor air pollution can be a huge problem, since most of us spend the majority of our time indoors. Things like cleaning products, personal care products, candles, air fresheners and even appliances such as stoves and heaters/AC units can all contribute to indoor air quality. Plus pollution from outdoors often makes its way indoors through open windows, doors or chimneys. Long term exposure to this kind of pollution can contribute to allergies, asthma, neurological disorders and even cancer. Try to limit your use of candles (see my article 5 ways to use essential oils to scent your home for ideas on how to use essential oils instead of candles), and switch to safer, natural home care products. Try purchasing plants from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/270427152604272993/ (spider plants are notoriously easy to take care of, and are pet/baby safe, but still keep out of reach) or a Himalayan pink salt lamp to clean the air in your home.
– With the huge upset over BPA a few years ago, many people assume that plastics are safer now. The change that manufacturers made however, was simply removing BPA from baby bottles and products. BPA is still everywhere. Whether in adult cups, laundry baskets, or even lining the cans to our food (and thus our child’s) it’s a huge presence in our lives. Even more troubling, emerging research is now showing that BPS, the plastic that has replaced BPA, may even be more harmful than the hormone disrupting BPA. When possible, try to avoid plastic in all aspects of your life. Switch to glass or metal cups and waterbottles (I love Lifefactory’s glassware – available at Whole Foods or on Amazon – affiliate link), buy frozen food instead of cans (Amy’s brand does not use BPA in their cans), and think twice about purchasing other plastics.
– Once again, this item is on the list of things that babies love. Adults pay so much attention to this little thing, it lights up and makes noise, so it must be great. Think about the last time you cleaned your cell phone though. Now think of all the places you’ve set it. Maybe on the counter of a restroom, on the floor at a friend’s house, or even someplace in your house. Some studies suggest there are about 250,00 germs per square inch on our cell phones which is dirtier than the bottom of your shoes, toilet seats, and door knobs (source). It’s estimated up to 16% of cell phones even have the bacteria e.coli on them. That’s not something we want near our kids mouths. Plus, the jury is still out on whether EMFs (electro magnetic fields) are a danger to human health, so even if you clean your phone, it still might be a good idea to keep it away from your child’s mouth until more research is done.
Pictures & Wall Art
How secure are the pictures and art hanging up around the house? If pictures aren’t nailed securely into studs in the walls there is a risk of it falling down, and if your little one uis underneath it when it does, the results could be disastrous. Make sure all art and pictures are secure and never hang anything over where your child sleeps.
There are health and safety hazards everywhere, and although we can’t guarantee our child’s safety 100% of the time, we can do our best to avoid risks. In the end, the most important thing to your child’s safety is adult supervision, but that doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t take precautions that can mitigate those risks.
Did any of these surprise you? Are you going to make any changes to what your child plays with or your household routine? Did I miss any really important ones? Let me know in the comments below.