Beware of hidden household hazards

MECOSTA COUNTY — Parents steer children away from things that could harm them, but hidden threats lurk in every house — sometimes where people least expect them.

For safety’s sake, look through the home often. Keep an eye out for not-so-obvious hazards. Here are some to watch for:

Scalding tap water – It is common for a home’s water heater to be set above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and this can cause a scald burn to a child in seconds. Scalding hot tap water causes 3,800 injuries and more than 30 deaths a year. Set the hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Check a child’s bath water with a thermometer; aim for 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unstable furniture – Each year, thousands of young kids are badly injured — and some die — when large TVs and heavy furniture tip over on them. Often, the victims were leaning on the furniture, climbing it or pulling themselves up on it. Double-check the stability of large furniture. Anchor stoves, bookcases, shelves or bureaus to the wall. Get rid of items that may tempt kids to climb.

Poorly stored chemicals – Each year, more than one million children younger than 6 years old are poisoned by accident. Many poisons are found in the garage. Parents can unknowingly put their kids at risk by storing gasoline, lighter fluid or other chemicals in old soda bottles or cans. Kids may drink the liquids, with tragic results. Store harmful chemicals in their original, labeled containers — safely out of reach.

Home trampolines – Backyard trampolines send thousands of people younger than 20 years old to doctors and emergency rooms each year. Injuries range from sprains, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, paralysis and even death. Avoid the use of home trampolines. In gym classes or competitive sports, use a trampoline only with supervision.

 

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