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Journey to Parenthood

5 Common Hazards That Put Children at Risk

Deborah A.P. Hersman

President and CEO, National Safety Council

Bringing a newborn home from the hospital is one of life’s greatest joys. First-time parents of all ages quickly learn their little ones don’t come with instruction manuals. Identifying common household hazards is part of raising children in a loving, safe environment. Parents can protect children and reduce the odds of unintentional injury by staying aware of these five dangers:

1. Suffocation

From birth to age 4, suffocation is the leading cause of death in children, according to Injury Facts 2017, an annual statistical report produced by the National Safety Council. Nearly three infants, toddlers and little ones die every day, most often in unsafe sleep environments. The safest place for babies to sleep is in a crib, not in the same bed as parents. Stuffed animals, crib bumpers and blankets should be removed.

2. Drowning

Almost 30 percent of home-drowning incidents occur when a child falls into a pool or is left alone in the bathtub. Never leave kids unattended around water. Drowning can happen in seconds and in just one inch of water. Know what to do in an emergency. By learning first aid or CPR, you could save a life.

3. Furniture Tip-Overs

Kids like to climb on your lap, the furniture — anything, really. Research shows one child dies every three weeks in a TV tip-over incident. Protect little ones by anchoring shelving units and television sets.

4. Detergent Pods

Single-load detergent packets are attractive to infants because they are colorful and resemble candy, toys and teething products. Keep them out of sight and out of reach. Approximately 775 kids under the age of 5 are exposed each month to the concentrated levels of chemicals in the packets, according to the American Association of Poison Controls Center. Poison help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-222-1222.

5. Button Batteries

More than seven kids are treated every day after swallowing button batteries. When lodged in the esophagus, these little silver-colored batteries cause tissue burns that can be fatal.  Look in your home for items that may contain button batteries — electronic devices, key fobs or greeting cards. Whenever possible, select batteries sold in child-resistant safety packaging.

When traveling with children, be sure they are buckled properly in safety seats that are appropriate for their age, weight and height. Your journey is just beginning — you want them to be with you for the long haul.

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