Child safety: Surprising everyday items that pose a danger to your child at home

Home is a place to relax and it’s where we feel safest, no more so than at the moment. However, many everyday things in your home can pose a danger to children.

Kids are of course, curious by nature and see the world differently. This can be disastrous if they get their hands on something they shouldn’t, thinking it’s a toy to play with or worse, a sweet to eat.

Rich Quelch, Global Head of Marketing at child-safe packaging experts Origin, gives his top tips for what more you could do to protect your little ones at home…

1) Watch out for houseplants

Houseplants are enjoying a revival, freshening up our homes and improving indoor air quality. However, some varieties pose a threat to children, so make sure to check online or in-store before buying one.

Dieffenbachia and philodendron are common houseplants that contain oxalates, microscopic crystals that are released into the mouth when the plant is chewed and cause extreme pain and inflammation.

2) Always keep medicines in original packaging

According to the NHS, medicines are the cause of over 70 percent of hospital admissions for poisoning in under-fives.

Where possible, only buy or request medicines which come in child-resistant packaging and never empty them into easy to open and unlabelled containers.

Remember, child-resistant does not mean packaging is entirely child-proof, so always keep all medicines out of reach of children.

3) Check second-hand toys

Baby gear can be expensive, so many of us are on the look out for second hand toys and equipment to help keep costs down.

However, hand-me-downs could have broken or missing parts or because of their age, may not meet current safety standards.

Always inspect items for damage or missing parts before giving them to your child and make sure strings, straps and cords are shorter than 7 inches.

4) Lock your dishwasher

Like most cleaning products, dishwasher tablets contain aggressive alkaline salts meaning they are corrosive if ingested.

After every use, wipe out the powder holder and the residue around the edge of the door. Get into the practice of running the dishwasher as soon as you add the detergent.

Most dishwashers have a lock setting, so check yours. Otherwise, consider installing an appliance lock.

5) Hide cleaning wipes away

You might not think to keep kitchen or bathroom wipes under lock and key, but children could easily mistake these for the harmless ones used for nappy changes or facial cleansing.

As children often mimic what they see us do, be sure not to leave your new or used anti-bac wipes within easy reach.

6) Never refer to tablets as sweets

We’ve all been there. Your child is ill and despite your best efforts, they won’t swallow their medicine.

It can be tempting to make things easier by calling tablets ‘sweets’ but if your child was to ever get their hands on medicine unsupervised, they won’t realise they should only be taken when they’re poorly in small amounts.

Teach your child from a young age about the safe use of medicines and make sure to praise and reward them when they follow the rules to reinforce good behaviour.

7) Keep mouthwash up high

Mouthwashes don’t immediately scream danger as we regularly swirl them around our mouths.

However, brightly coloured mouthwashes and their relatively nice taste can be mistaken by a child as a drink and cause serious internal damage if swallowed in large quantities.

Keep mouthwash up high on a shelf, window sill or in a cabinet, not on the floor or by the sink.

8) Beware of cheap scented candles

They may look nice and help you unwind, but even when scented candles are kept out of reach, they may be causing your child (and you) harm.

Many cheaper scented candles on the market use paraffin wax which gives off toxic carcinogens benzene and toluene when burned. So, opt for candles using only natural waxes like soy, rapeseed, plant and beeswax.