Four Ways to Make Your House Safer for Children and Pets

Whether it’s an infant learning to crawl, a toddler who can open cabinets and drawers, or a puppy learning to follow its nose, these adorable armfuls all have one thing in common – everything in their reach may go into their mouths. This curiosity can put them in potentially dangerous situations in many homes. 

Children and pets often gravitate toward the same problem areas in homes like kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms. If you’re a parent, grandparent or pet owner, spending a little time on preventative measures can go a long way toward keeping emergency situations from happening.  

Let’s take a look at some of the most common areas where hazards for pets and children can intersect, according to the American Humane Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics.  

Liquid nicotine. As the popularity of vaping and e-cigarettes grows, so do the dangers of liquid nicotine. Small bottles or vials can catch the attention of little kids and pets, especially the sweetly-flavored versions that smell good. Even a small amount can be fatal. Keep all liquid nicotine products out of reach and out of sight. 

Household cleaning products. Some of the most dangerous chemicals in our homes can be stashed under sinks in bathrooms and kitchens or tucked on shelves where children and small animals can easily get into them. You might think something that smells like a harsh detergent would not attract their attention, but liquids, spray cleaners and used sponges or cleaning brushes can be like magnets for little hands and paws. The same goes for colorful detergent pods, which can look like a pet toy or a piece of candy. Each day, more than 300 children in the United States are treated in an emergency room because they’ve been poisoned by ingesting something in their home, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By moving all cleaning products and laundry detergents up and out of reach, you can help keep your children and pets from being part of that statistic. 

Medications, vitamins and supplements. Pills, capsules and chewable tablets can pose a multitude of potentially fatal problems. To children and pets, they can look like little pieces of food or candy. But prescription medications can lead to overdoses or death, even in small amounts. Vitamins and supplements, while not typically deadly, can be a choking hazard. To protect the smallest members of your family, make sure all over-the-counter as well as prescription medications are safely out of reach. If you drop one on the floor, make sure to retrieve it. Be especially careful if you take your children or pets into someone else’s home. Medications left out on coffee tables, kitchen counters or in easy-to-reach purses can be dangerous. 

Batteries. Whether they are tiny button batteries or AA or AAAs, these objects can be fascinating to children and pets – right before they swallow them. Small batteries seem fun because they are shiny, round and roll around. They can also be pried out of small compartments in some toys if children are left unattended. Batteries are a deadly choking hazard.  Be sure to store them out of reach.  

Other quick tips to make your house safer: 

  • Install latches on all kitchen and bathroom cabinets. 
  • Keep all toilet lids closed. 
  • Tuck away dangling wires, tape them down or secure them in a covered protector. 
  • Keep poisonous plants out of reach. 

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Photo credit: Getty

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