Monday, February 25, 2008

Hidden Home Hazards

The strong sense of comfort we feel as we unwind at home often makes us vulnerable to objects that appear harmless. We believe that danger exists outside, not within our homes. After all we've designed our personal spaces to adapt to our needs to kick back and relax. But the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) advised that 33.1 million people suffer injuries related to products in the home. The Commission advised the top 5 hidden hazards as follows:

Magnets: Toys that contain small magnetic components are dangerous as small magnets that can detach from the rest of the toy can be swallowed by small children. When opposite poles of these magnetic pieces are swallowed or, if these are swallowed together with a metallic object; these pieces can re-attach and remain trapped within the child's intestinal tract. Since 2005, magnets have been the cause of 1 reported death and 86 reported injuries. Toys with small magnets have been recalled to prevent further injuries. The Commission further advised that such toys should only be given to children over 6 years of age.

Furniture Tip Overs: Furniture, and home appliances can tip over and crush young children. Injuries and some deaths occur when children climb over, fall or pull themselves up against these. Children will less likely climb onto furniture and appliances if there are no objects placed over the top of TVs, shelves and counter tops. Such objects such as toys and food can attract children.

Windows, Blinds and Drapes: Children can fall off windows or can be trapped by window cords. Loops used to close or draw blinds and drapes can trap and strangle children. Thousands of children under the age of 10 have been known to fall off windows causing 9 deaths per year on average. Secure loose loops of window blinds so that these are kept from children's reach. Install window guards or stops as screens will not be sufficient to stop a child from falling.

Pool and Spa Drains: Broken drain covers in pools can present hazards to all ages. The suction from a draining pool is so powerful that it can hold an adult under water. Small children can be defenseless when their small bodies are sucked against the drain or when hair gets pulled and entangled. Parents should check that pools have drain covers in place before allowing their child to enter a pool. Safety Vacuum Release Systems can also be installed to shut off the pool's pump when a drain is blocked.

Recalled Products: The Consumer Product Safety Commission recalls from store shelves, hundreds of products per year as soon as these are found to present safety hazards. Examples of recalled products in the past year are toys and jewelry containing excessive amounts of lead. Small trim on clothing may have come off easily, and can potentially choke small children. We can all be made aware of recent product recalls by signing up through the CPSC's website. Log on to


Anonymous said...

All of these topics are important, and believe that it will be a great source of information for young mothers/families, single women and many beyond.
Any information that contributes to the idea of protection within all aspects of life is important. I also like the idea of anonymity for people that are seeking support.
The stark contrast between the life here and “regular” Western life, with regards to safety is so evident. I always think that I would love to make a difference for children and women. But this is also a life pattern that includes uneducated and down trodden. My opinion is that in the western world there is more personal humiliation that can be well hidden. THIS is where I think a blog for child safety and domestic violence is always in search of.

I am not sure if I am headed in the direction you want me to be. As I quickly glanced the page for the first time- those were the subjects that caught my attention. The idea of environmental protection/change is equally as important. We do what we can to make a difference- but once again, our side of the world is so slow on the uptake that even the importance of recycling is not endorsed nearly as much as it should be. And the ease of recycling resources does not exist.
THIS is when I love being back in a society that is revamping the system to impact the future. The simple things in life will make such a difference in our children’s future.

Ellen Uyenco said...

The contrast in the people's awareness of a safe environment could be due to the availability of resources that ensure child safety. Children raised under constant supervision are less likely to "fall into accidents." The presence of adult supervision (as provided by nannies)results in the near absence of accidents and a low awareness in the general population of objects that can potentially endanger a child. The availability/affordability of paid adult supervision can vary according to economic status or cultural practice. If 24/7 monitoring cannot be provided, the child's environment needs to be modified so that a child left to his own devices faces minimal risk of harmful exposure. But this should not replace adult supervision.
Environmental protection or its consciousness is likely observed in fast changing environments where the population is most likely able to view the contrasts of what it was then, and how it looks now. Scarcity or the obvious dwindling of resources can be catalysts for conservation. It's hard to imagine this happening in sparsely populated areas where resources are plentiful.