Top Five Hidden Home Hazards

by Jennifer Chait

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just released the “Top Five Hidden Home Hazardsâ€? — an important list for you and your family to be aware of.

child_safety33.1 million family members a year are injured by consumer products in their homes. The CPSC came up with this recent list in hopes of lowering these injuries. With very little costs to families many of these injuries can be avoided.

Here’s the list from the CPSC:

#1 Magnets

Since 2005: 1 Death, 86 Injuries

I had no idea that magnets cause so many injuries, but they do. The CPSC says, “If two or more magnets, or a magnet and another metal object are swallowed separately, they can attract to one another through intestinal walls and get trapped in place. The injury is hard to diagnose. Parents and physicians may think that the materials will pass through the child without consequence, but magnets can attract in the body and twist or pinch the intestines, causing holes, blockages, infection, and death, if not treated properly and promptly.”

To be safe make sure that small children never play with magnets when unattended. Watch for loose magnets that may break off from toys and throw them away. If you hear that a magnetic toy is recalled make sure to follow the recall instructions.

#2 Recalled Items

Each year there about 400 recalls.

Recalls are useful; if your family knows about them. You can get dangerous products out of your home and away from your children quickly if you sign up to receive recall information by email at CPSC points out that, “An e-mail from CPSC is not spam – it could save a life.”

#3 Tip-overs

Average of 22 deaths per year;
31 in 2006 and an estimated 3,000 injuries.

Furniture, Electronics, stoves, and more can fall over and crush young children. Kids like to try and climb up shelving or pull themselves up using equipment stands, shelves, chests, dressers, and more. A television sitting on a shelf can tip over and cause head trauma and other injuries.

Don’t leave enticing items, like a bowl of candy, a toy, or even a remote control, on top of something because it might make your child want to climb up to get the item. Make sure furniture is stable and not sitting on a slanted floor or uneven carpet. You can buy brackets and attach them to tall easy-to-tip furniture. In California my family attached everything to the wall (earthquake precautions) and all the brackets to do that cost under $15. It’s an inexpensive way to keep your kids safe.

#4 Windows & Window Coverings

Average of 12 deaths annually from window cords;
Average of 9 deaths and an estimated 3,700 injuries to children annually from window falls.

Window screens are designed to keep icky bugs out; not your cute kids in. If you open your windows wide, use window guards. Or you can use a lock that allows a window to be semi-opened but not all the way. Cords from window coverings are a huge danger to kids. You can wrap them up at the top of the window; but a safer bet is to install inner cord stays. Also, keep all furniture and cribs away from windows.

#5 Pool & Spa Drains

15 injuries, 2 fatalities from 2002-2004.According to CPSP, “The suction from a pool drain can be so powerful that it can hold an adult under water, but most incidents involve children. The body can become sealed against the drain or hair can be pulled in and tangled.” Another issue is missing or broken drain covers — one of the main reasons that entrapment occurs. You can install a Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS) which automatically detects when a drain is blocked and shuts off the pump which prevents entrapment. Also, of course, never allow children to use a pool or spa unattended. Consider putting up a gate, with a lock, around your water filled equipment.

To learn more visit CPSP.

To find child-proofing products for your home visit,

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This entry was posted on Monday, August 6th, 2007 at 7:46 pm and is filed under Child Safety. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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