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Toddlerhood inevitably comes with some bumps, bruises and scrapes. But new studies suggest serious hazards to young children lurk within your own four walls — some hazards in places you wouldn’t suspect. Fortunately, there’s much you can do to protect your little ones.
The danger: Small and shiny, batteries often prove irresistible to children, especially those 5 and younger. About every three hours, a child visits an emergency room (ER) after putting a battery in his or her mouth, nose or ear. These injuries are more common than ever, according to a recent study in Pediatrics. That may be because button batteries, involved in more than three-fourths of the cases, are used in more electronics than ever before.
The safeguard: Tape shut the battery compartments of toys, games, remote controls and other devices. Store extra batteries out of reach in child-resistant packages.
The danger: Chances are, you use bottles, cups and pacifiers to feed, hydrate and soothe your little ones. But a new study finds more than 2,000 children age 3 and younger are treated for injuries caused by these products every year. Most children suffer cuts to their mouths because they fall while sipping or sucking.
The safeguard: Encourage your little one to stay seated while drinking out of a bottle or cup.
The danger: Every six minutes, a kid age 5 or younger takes a tumble down the stairs — and lands in the ER. A new study finds these injuries are becoming less common, but they’re often serious, especially if they occur when an adult is carrying a child.
The safeguard: Don’t tote your tot up and down stairs in your home more than necessary. When you are carrying your child, keep your other hand free to grab the handrail. Install gates at the top and bottom of staircases, but recognize that gates are not enough. Always watch your child on or near steps.
The danger: Tipped-over television sets can cause serious injury and even death. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recently ranked them as a top hidden home hazard.
The safeguard: Supervise cartoon time. In a recent study, more than three-fourths of TV-related injuries occurred out of adults’ line of vision. Install your TV on a stand specifically designed for the size of your set. Secure your TV to the wall or floor. When attaching, make sure your TV is as low and as far back as possible.
The danger: Slips, trips and falls in the tub or shower hurt more than 40,000 children age 4 and younger each year. These falls contribute to scalding from hot water, cuts, bruises, broken bones and drowning.
The safeguard: Never let a small child bathe alone. Consider installing slip-resistant surfaces and child-size grab bars to the shower or tub. Check tubs and shower stalls for sharp edges or pinching doors. And remove or pad pinching doors when possible.
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