An expert has revealed the hidden hazards parents should watch out in everyday situations as life returns to normal following lockdown.
Speaking to FEMAIL, childcare expert Karen Clince, who is the Irish founder of childcare provider Tigers Childcare, shared her advice on how to avoid risks at home and in the local park or playground.
Among the surprising threats at home are fridge magnets, loose change and even baby’s hairbands, which can all become choking hazards.
Karen said: ‘Accidents are an inevitable part of growing up, but they are also the leading cause of death in children and account for 1 in 12 deaths of children aged one to four in the UK. Here are the ones to watch out for that you might not think of.’
An expert has revealed the hidden hazards parents should watch out in everyday situations as life returns to normal following lockdown. Stock image
Fans in prams
The hot weather can be stifling for babies and many parents opt for buggy fans to keep little ones cool.
But little fingers can get trapped and hair can get caught resulting in painful injuries, so use with caution.
Sandy playgrounds are full of hidden dangers. Hypodermic needles, dog faeces, broken glass and sharp objects are just a few of the nasties that can be lurking beneath the surface of your child’s favourite play area.
Wearing a coat while carrying a baby in a sling can be cause your baby to overheat, raising their risk of SIDS. Babies are unable to regulate their own body temperature and newborns aren’t able to sweat, so it’s very important to make sure they maintain a healthy body temperature of around 36.4C at all times.
Electric Car Windows
Speaking to FEMAIL, BABYBJÖRN’s child expert, Karen Clince, shared her top hazards
Never leave a young child unattended in a car. It’s a sobering fact that it takes 22 pounds of force to suffocate or injure a child and electric windows exert an upward force of around 30 to 80 pounds – this has resulted in thousands of injuries and deaths of children around the world.
Going barefoot in the park
While it’s lovely to feel the grass between your toes, public parks are not the place to be at one with nature. Broken glass and other hidden hazards can lead to the need for a tetanus shot, while nasty bacteria and funguses can cause foot and nail infections.
Trampolines are great fun for kids, but one misjudged move can result in sprains, broken bones, long-term injury and even death. The Royal College of Emergency Medicine and Oxford University Hospitals Trust estimates that 13,000 trampolining injuries are treated in English accident and emergency departments every year, at an annual cost to the NHS of £1.5million.
Bouncy castles are so much fun, but can be very hazardous too. Over excited children can get caught up in the moment and can easily fall off and crash into each other.
Ensure there is a responsible adult watching at all times and limit the number of children on a bouncy castle. Little ones can easily be crushed by bigger kids, so it’s a good idea to allocate time slots for different age groups at a party. Make sure it is anchored securely too, as the wind can easily lift a bouncy castle and cause serious injury.
Headbands are a very cute accessory for babies, but are a very serious strangulation or choking hazard. Opt for headbands with a Velcro fastening to limit the danger.
Not only are magnets a choking hazard but if more than one is swallowed, they can attract to each other in the digestive tract causing blockages and twists in the intestine that can be fatal.
Wire hangers are a strangulation hazard and can easily poke an eye out or pierce the skin. Plastic hangers are also hazardous as they can break and splinter, so to be safe, opt for wooden or fabric coated clothes hangers.
Like magpies to shiny objects, kids love loose change. Not only are coins a choking hazard but if swallowed they can get stuck in the oesophagus. If the coin flips horizontally while in the oesophagus, it can push against the wind pipe and block the ability to breath, resulting in the need for life-saving emergency surgery.
Everyone loves a balloon, but burst balloons are one of the leading choking hazards for children. Never leave little ones alone with balloons and ensure you find every piece if one bursts.
Not only are these a serious choking hazard but if swallowed, they can burn through the oesophagus and stomach lining. The batteries are easily lodged in the nose and ears too, so should be kept out of children’s reach at all times.
Choking on food
Choking is silent and can happen within moments, so never leave your child alone with food. For children aged 0-4 years, choking is the leading cause of death so ensure baby and toddler’s food is cut into ½ inch pieces.
Common foods for choking include grapes, nuts, popcorn, chewing gum, sweets, cherry tomatoes, chunks of meat, cheese and raw vegetables, and cherries.
Carbon Monoxide is a silent killer. Omitted by faulty boilers, it’s a poisonous gas, which has so smell or taste. To ensure the safety of you and your children, fit carbon monoxide alarms in the home and bring portable alarms with you when staying in holiday homes.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, headaches, dizziness, feeling sick and being sick, stomach pain, tiredness and confusion.
These are in most homes and are commonly mistaken as sweets by kids due to their bright colours. Highly poisonous, they should be kept locked away in a secure cupboard away from a child’s reach.
Unsecured tall furniture
Children love to climb and large furniture can be lethal if it’s not secured properly to the wall. Use an anchor or strap, which can be obtained from your local DIY store. Heavy TVs are another danger to look out for, so ensure your TV has a secure stand or is fixed to the wall correctly.