We recently interviewed Dr. Corinne Watson, a pediatrician at Cotswold Pediatrics, to get her thoughts on household safety and toddlers. So many things around our homes can be dangerous to toddlers – this post is a great reminder on what to be aware of and what to do in the case of an emergency. This is one of those “life-saving posts” that’s a must-read for all of our Smarty readers. Big thanks to Dr. Watson and Levine Children’s Hospital!
What are some of the household items toddlers most often ingest?
– Household cleaners and other household, yard, and automobile chemicals
– Detergent “pods”
– Personal care products
– Lead can be found in certain cosmetics, painted toys and plumbing fixtures, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
– Art supplies, such as rubber cement, super glue and acrylic paints. Look for supplies approved by the Art and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI) or Information Toxicology International Incorporated.
What are some dangerous household items for toddlers that parents might not know about?
– Some vitamins taste like candy but ingesting large amounts, especially if they contain iron, can be toxic.
– Tobacco, and especially liquid nicotine from e-cigarettes, can be very dangerous and even lethal.
– Button batteries, which may be hidden in those cute musical greeting cards, can burn through the gut with time.
– Certain plants, such as oleander and foxglove, can be dangerously toxic whereas others may just cause some discomfort if ingested.
– Parents’ (and grandparents’) medications whether prescription or over-the-counter
What can parents do to make sure toddlers stay out of harm’s way?
– Keep medications and chemical products out of children’s sight and reach. Think like Superman – “Up, Up and Away.”
– Keep all chemical products, including laundry products, in the original container.
– Safely dispose of expired or unneeded medications. Remember, a trash can is easily accessible for a toddler.
– Install and check carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
– Do not mix household products together, such as bleach and ammonia, that make a toxic gas when combined. When using chemical products indoors, turn on the fan and open windows if possible.
– Know what plants you have in your household, especially the pretty flowering plants.
– Know the age of your home and beware of chipping paint. Older homes can have lead-based paint that is especially prone to flaking around windows.
Of course, you cannot keep your eyes on your toddler 100 percent of the time, but it is important to babyproof as much as possible to reduce their risk of getting into dangerous things.
At what age do toddlers have the capability to understand something is dangerous?
Toddlers can start to understand the concept of “no” and rules in the first couple years. However, they do not develop a true understanding of danger until their school years.
What are the best ways to educate caregivers or house guests of possible danger for toddlers?
Have them put themselves in the eyes of a toddler and assume the toddler will get into anything he or she can find or reach. Toddlers learn by exploring and pushing their boundaries. They are not trying to cause trouble; they simply do not understand what is dangerous yet. Furthermore, toddlers often explore with their hands and their MOUTH. So anything they get into, they may likely ingest.
If a toddler does ingest something questionable, what steps should an adult immediately take?
–The most important thing to remember is to call the Poison Help hotline at 800-222-1222. If your child looks ill or is unresponsive then call 911 first.
–Do not make your child vomit unless instructed to do so by Poison Control. This is no longer recommended in most cases because it can cause more harm than good.
Where is the best place to store every-day household chemicals or cleaners?
It is best to store products up high. Remember lower cabinets are often eye-level for children. If you do not have out-of-reach storage, then make sure storage areas are locked.