Children's Health and Wellness

5 Home Safety Threats You Might Overlook

You're a careful parent who steers children away from things that could harm them. But hidden threats lurk in every house—sometimes where you least expect them. For safety's sake, look through your home often. Keep an eye out for not-so-obvious hazards. Here are five of them:

Scalding tap water

It is common for a home's water heater to be set above 120 degrees, and this can cause a scald burn to a child in seconds. Scalding hot tap water causes 3,800 injuries and more than 30 deaths a year. A lot of victims are young kids.

Solution: Set your hot water heater to no higher than 120 °F (48.8°C).  and check the temperature of your tap water to ensure it is safe.

Unstable furniture

Each year, thousands of young kids are badly injured—and some die—when large TVs and heavy furniture tip over on them. Often, the victims were climbing it, or pulling themselves up on it, or falling against unstable furniture..

Solution: Double-check the stability of large furniture. Anchor stoves, bookcases, shelves, or bureaus to the wall. Get rid of items that may tempt kids to climb.

Window blinds

Hundreds of children have strangled to death after getting tangled up in cords or chains on window blinds. Window coverings sold before 2001 pose the most danger.

Solution: Secure the cords of older window coverings so children can't reach them or replace them with safer, cordless blinds. Move cribs, beds, and other furniture away from windows. Use only cordless window coverings in children's sleep and play areas. 

Poorly stored chemicals

Since the year 2000, the number of poisoning deaths has doubled among children. Many poisons are found in the garage, kitchen or bathroom. They include pesticides, automotive products, weed killers, and household cleaning and disinfectant products. .

Solution: Store harmful chemicals in their original, labeled containers—safely out of reach. Consider locked cabinets for storage. Never leave chemicals unattended when you are using them.

Home trampolines

Backyard trampolines send tens of thousands of people younger than 20 to doctors and emergency rooms each year. Injuries range from sprains, broken bones, and cuts to neck and spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and even death.

Solution: Avoid use of home trampolines. In gym classes or competitive sports, use a trampoline only with strict adult guidance and supervision.

Print Source: Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness. Trampoline Safety in Childhood and Adolescence. Pediatrics (2012); 130(4); pp. s774-s779
Print Source: Starting Out Healthy/Winter 2007
Online Source: American Academy of Pediatrics. Protecting Kids from Furniture and TV Tip-Overshttp://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Documents/Protecting_Kids_Furniture_TV_Tip-Overs.pdf
Online Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Protect the Ones You Love: Child Injuries are Preventablehttp://www.cdc.gov/safechild/NAP/background.html
Online Source: US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Childproofing Your Homehttp://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/113138/252.pdf
Online Source: US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Tap Water Scaldshttp://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/121522/5098.pdf
Online Source: Environmental protection Agency. Prevent Poisonings in Your Homehttp://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/poisonprevention.htm
Online Source: Safe Kids USA. Burn and Scald Prevention Fact Sheethttp://www.safekids.org/our-work/research/fact-sheets/burn-and-scald-prevention-fact-sheet.html
Author: Peppers, Mary L.
Online Editor: Metzger, Geri
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Petersen, Sheralee, MPAS, PA-C
Date Last Reviewed: 4/28/2013
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.