Between being curious, hyper, and not knowing how to keep themselves safe, many kids are an accident waiting to happen and millions of children get hurt in their home every year. As a result, many parents turn to childproofing in an attempt to make their home as safe as possible so that minor bumps and bruises don’t turn into anything more significant. However, some of the things that harm kids might come as a surprise, and could be deadly.
A decade-long study conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, found that at least one kid dies every month because they get strangled by a window blind cord. That trend is certainly a shocker to most parents, and might even seem impossible. But it means that making sure blinds fit properly so that cords do not hang too low or tying them up and out of the reach of children is an important step for childproofing a home.
Of course, keeping drugs, toxins, and chemicals out of kids’ reach is also vital. “A child who has finding and taking a medication on their own can lead to poisoning and potentially death. Safe Kids Worldwide, a global organization dedicated to preventing injuries in children, reports that 67,000 children were treated in emergency rooms for medicine poisoning in 2011,” writes Debra Lasilla. “Sadly, children getting into adult medications comprise 86 percent of all emergency room visits for medication poisoning.”
In the same way that little kids are prone to stumbling to the ground, they also often have a tendency to put things in their mouth that they shouldn’t. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading cause for emergency room visits for children under the age of five is ingesting drugs that they find on their own. Because of that, keeping medicines in a safe place is a vital component of childproofing a home.
Sometimes, childproofing is not just about keeping kids safe, but helping them stay comfortable and healthy. Parents who want to do that will need to take steps to help make sure their kids get the sleep they need. Many will do that by placing sound machines in a baby’s room, some of which only produce white noise.
“The white noise is there as a continual presence, just like a teddy bear,” Dr. Harvey Karp said. “It’s like a teddy bear of sounds.”
But unlike teddy bears, noise machines could actually be dangerous to children. A recent study found that the intensity of the sounds they make could damage infants’ hearing and auditory development.
“These machines are capable of delivering enough of a dose over a period of time to theoretically caue hearing loss, but that’s not been tested,” said the study’s senior author Dr. Blake Papsin.
Parents who want to use the machines to help their kids (and maybe even themselves) sleep soundly every night will have to make sure to lower the volume so that they don’t prove to be a danger.
There are all types of dangers in the average home, and parents who want to childproof their place will need to consider every danger. Everything from blind cords to sound machines presents some kind of risk, so parents need to be thorough to make their home as safe as possible.