In “5 Unexpected Home Hazards That Send Too Many Kids To The ER,” Pediatrician Vatsala Bhaskar refreshes us on a topic covered many times on The PediaBlog that bears repeating:

We parents are human — we’re busy, we’re tired and we make mistakes. Every week in my medical practice, I treat children who have come into contact with everyday household items and harmed themselves by ingesting something, spraying contaminants in their eyes or somehow injuring themselves with common things found in every household. As a result, the child’s parents are horrified, the child is upset, ill or injured, and worry abounds.

Life isn’t perfect and accidents happen.

If you are a grandparent or someone who occasionally hosts infants and young children in your home, you probably don’t have (or need) all the childproofing armor in your home.


Dr. Bhaskar’s list includes the usual suspects that are especially perilous to infants and toddlers:

  • Cleaning Products — These can cause damage to the respiratory system if inhaled, the digestive system if ingested, and the skin and eyes if splashed.  With young children, exposures often happen to multiple systems:

This is the number one danger to kids. Parents often lock up these toxins when they are on the main floor of the house, but sometimes overlook cleaners stored elsewhere, such as second floor bathrooms or the garage.


  • Toys and outdoor playground equipment appropriate for older children, not infants, toddlers, and preschoolers:

Young children like nothing more than the company of their big brothers and sisters. Some toys or game pieces which are fine for older children may contain small parts that are choking hazards in a younger child’s hands. Continually monitor play areas, as well as the back seat of your car, to ensure no small items are within reach of infants and young children.


  • Handbags and backpacks are “treasure chests” for children:

If you look inside your bag on any given day with the thought what items might harm a child, it’s a frightening realization. (In my own bag, as an example, I discovered several sharp objects, hand sanitizer, an open package of mints and nail polish.)


  • Trees, bushes, flowers, and indoor houseplants often pack toxicity to ensure their own survival.  It’s a reminder that even “natural” things can be dangerous to humans.


  • Laundry and dishwasher pods, easily mistaken for candy, have been covered previously on The PediaBlog.


One more reminder:   Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222.


More PediaBlog on the topic of home health hazards here.