Prevent these common dangers at home

Photo courtesy Injury Prevention at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) Most parents know about the obvious hazards in the home: the stove, open doors, staircases, bath tubs… but there are other, hidden dangers in the home that you need to be aware of. The team from Injury Prevention at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital has some tips and advice when it comes to three important categories.

Button batteries

  1. When a child swallows a battery, it does not cause them to choke or stop breathing, but it can burn a hole in the child’s esophagus in less than two hours.
  2. Some products that contain button batteries don’t have the battery compartment screwed shut because they are not intended for children.
  3. Keep all batteries out of reach. Get help fast! 

Carbon monoxide & poison

  1. Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause illness and even death. It is the most common cause of poisoning death in the U.S.
  2. Symptoms
  • Mild headache
  • Flu-like symptoms, including severe headache, dizziness, confusion, fatigue
  • Loss of consciousness if early symptoms are ignored.
  • Items that can emit carbon monoxide
    • Furnaces – check each fall
    • Dryers – properly vented, clean the vent
    • Stoves – blue flame, not orange. Do not use stove to heat home
    • Cars – don’t warm up in garage, fumes can seep into the home
    • Kerosene Heaters – try not to use, use portable electric instead
    • Generators – NEVER inside
    • Gas Grills – never in garage, keep 10 feet away from open doors and windows
    • Install alarms! Contact Healthy Homes for appointment. They will install for free!
    • Be sure to keep all liquids in their original, labeled container
    • Help children understand they should never eat or drink anything without first asking an adult.


  1. Leading cause of childhood injury and death in Kent County.
  • Supervision is key
  • Windows
    • All windows on the first floor should be equipped with window guards. Children can fall from windows open as little as four inches.
    • Screens are designed to keep bugs out, not to keep kids in.
    • Move furniture away from windows. Keep windows locked when closed.
    • High decks, balconies, fire escapes
      • Railing slots should be no more than 3.5 inches apart
    • Stairs
      • Every house with a baby or toddler in it should have safety gates at the top and bottom of every staircase.
      • Safety gates at the tops of stairs must be attached to the wall – these are must more secure than the kind held in place by pressure.
      • Keep hallways and stairs free of clutter
      • Do not let kids play on stairs
    • Use straps
      • When children are in high chairs, infant carriers, swings and strollers always strap them in.
      • Never leave young children alone on changing tables, beds, couches, or other furniture.
      • Avoid mobile baby walkers – stationary play centers give baby a chance to practice standing and moving without going anywhere and getting into hazardous situations.
    • Playground equipment
      • Supervision
      • Age appropriate sections 

Lawn Mower

  1. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 200,000 people are injured in lawn mower related accidents each year, and 16,000 of them are children.
  2. Never allow kids to play on the lawn mower even it if is turned off.
  • Not a privilege to ride – very dangerous
  • 12 years old to mow push mower
  • 16 years to mow riding mower
  • Kids inside while mowing
  • Objects ejected from a lawn mower can travel at speeds of 200 miles per hour
  • Lawn mower related injuries are the leading cause of traumatic amputations in children.

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