4 hidden safety risks you might not think of

When your little one started crawling, you probably baby-proofed your house for the usual things. Like installing gates to keep the baby off the stairs, installing socket protectors to keep little fingers out of the power outlets and putting locks on cabinets. But there are some lesser-known safety risks to tackle, too.

When you’re baby-proofing your home, you have to consider things from an entirely different vantage point — one of someone much smaller than you. You’ve probably heard that you need to get down on the floor to see what dangers are visible and accessible.

That’s a great starting point, but you need to go a step beyond. Consider these four safety risks:

Button batteries. These tiny batteries are also known as lithium batteries, and they can be found in all sorts of places. They’re used in remote controls, toys, calculators, watches and even musical greeting cards.

Though these batteries are tiny, they pack a large danger. When swallowed, these batteries can get stuck in the esophagus. Saliva around them can then trigger an electrical current, which can cause burns to the esophagus within a couple hours.

Secure items containing these batteries out of the reach of children, and makes sure everyone is aware of the danger they present. If you think your child swallowed a button battery, seek medical attention immediately.

Window blind cords. When it comes to safety risks, the window blinds in your little one’s room might not have crossed your mind. But they should.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly one child per month in the United States dies from strangulation caused by blind cords.

Many parents think to cut or tie up the adjustment cord that dangles from the blinds, but the cords that are inside the blinds are also a strangulation risk.

Eliminate this safety risk by choosing cordless blinds and place the crib away from the windows.

Essential oils. These oils, which are often used for medicinal purposes, have become increasingly popular over the past few years. But misuse of them can lead to poisoning.

Certain oils can be used on the skin without issue. But many oils can cause rashes or even burns if applied topically. Oils can also be accidentally aspirated, which can lead to pneumonia.

It’s important to remember that while you may have seen positive benefits from essential oils, kids have thinner skin and less developed livers, so their bodies may react differently.

To keep your kids safe around essential oils, treat them like you would any medication — keep them entirely out of reach and inaccessible.

Accessible medications. You’re familiar with the recommendations to keep medications in the medication cabinet and keep the medication cabinet locked. But there are probably some medications you haven’t considered.

Maybe you have a bottle of headache medication in your purse…or vitamins on the kitchen counter. Or maybe an overnight guest has a day-by-day pill container on his bedside table. All of these present potential dangers if grabbed by little hands.

Be extra vigilant when it comes to medications. Keep all medications, including vitamins, in an inaccessible location, preferably with a lock. If you have medications in your purse or travel bag, make sure those bags are also placed out of sight and above the reach of children. When guests are in your home or you’re a guest in someone’s home, be sure to remind them of the need to place medications out of reach.

These safety tips can help you avoid some emergencies. If an emergency does occur, though, Children’s Hospital at Erlanger offers comprehensive emergency services designed with your child in mind.