It is the nature of young children to explore the world around them, but their curiosity can lead to serious injury. A professional childproofer can help identify safety hazards in your home. Each year there are about two million children under the age of five who are treated in emergency rooms for injuries that occurred in the home. Listed below are some of the most common – and preventable – child safety hazards. Remember, specific hazards vary from home to home and from child to child, so this list is by no means all-inclusive.
- Injury due to a fall – particularly from stairs, furniture and windows – is the most common home injury to children.
- Accidental poisoning is the next most common hazard. A young child's natural curiosity and his desire to put everything in his mouth puts him at great risk.
- Burns due to stoves, hot liquids or steam, and also electricity run a close third in the hazards list. Because their skin is thinner, young children suffer burns at lower temperatures and more deeply than older children and adults.
- Airway obstruction, which includes choking, suffocation and strangulation, is a leading cause of injuries in children under one year of age and continues to be significant through age four. Soft bedding, pieces of food, small objects and blind cord loops are some of the major hazards.
- Drowning and near-drownings represent another major hazard in the home. Bathtubs, toilets, buckets and swimming pools are some of the most common places for this to occur. About 90% of these drownings occur during just momentary lapses in supervision.
- Finger entrapments in door hinges and head entrapments in railings and in furniture such as storage chests also cause many injuries.
- Furniture that children pull or climb on is another source of danger. Unsecured pieces of furniture and appliances can tip over onto a child and cause severe injury.