Raising a toddler is scary, especially if you’re a first-time parent. First-time parents often struggle with the idea of how to keep an infant safe, but in fact, toddlers are the bigger challenge. Though far from independent, toddlers are much more mobile and a lot more curious, which can lead to them getting into trouble. This is why there are so many steps that we take to monitor our toddlers out in the world. For one thing, we watch them like hawks when they’re outside, making sure that they never leave our sights. There are even “toddler leashes”, which, while controversial to some, are nonetheless used by many to ensure that their toddlers don’t run away. We worry about our toddlers leaving us and we worry about them running into the road; we caution them when they approach strange dogs, and we tell them to certainly never talk to strange people.
But one thing that we don’t consider quite as much is how hazardous our own homes can be to our children. One of the reasons why people need to be careful about their own homes is that it’s actually easy to relax with your toddler at home. But even if you’ve toddler-proofed your house, there are plenty of different issues that can put your child in danger. Furthermore, you may very well not know your house as well as you think you do. On average, an American homeowner will move every five to seven years; your house may be fairly new to you. With that being said, let’s look into some of the top hidden home dangers that you need to be on the lookout for when raising a toddler.
1. Carbon Monoxide Leaks
Now, a carbon monoxide leak can not only be dangerous to your toddler, but to the rest of your family as well. Your toddler is simply more at risk, as a relatively minor gas leak could be dangerous or even fatal to them before it would be to you. As natural gas is the second most heavily consumed energy source in the United States, Americans are all too easily at risk of being harmed by gases in their homes. But carbon monoxide is the deadliest, called the silent killer as it is responsible for about 500 deaths every year. Any appliance that burns fuel could potentially emit carbon monoxide. If you want to keep not only your toddler but your entire family safe, you need to install carbon monoxide detectors around your home. Every level of your home needs to have carbon monoxide detectors, and they need to be replaced every five to seven years.
2. Power Surges
Think about how curious toddlers are, and how easily that curiosity can move on to outlets and other energy sources. Many of us rely on technology constantly, and in fact, it’s easy for us to all feel as if we need to be plugged in now more than ever due to the issues that come with working from home during the pandemic. Think about how many cords are scattered throughout your home, and how often all of your power sources are plugged in at once. This is inevitably at risk of causing a power surge. Not only can power surges damage your electronic devices and appliances, they can also cause a fire. Your toddler can easily touch your outlets and devices, potentially creating a spark. And of course, they can also hurt themselves simply by messing with outlets in general. Use outlet covers constantly, not only to keep your toddler from hurting themselves but to potentially dissuade the older people in your family from plugging in too many devices at once.
3. Trip And Fall Hazards
There are a lot of potential trip and fall hazards in your home, especially if you’re raising a toddler. Young children are constantly on the move. You need to be careful and put your shoes aside whenever you walk through the door, for example. Putting your shoes aside will lower the risk of your toddler tripping. If there are uneven spaces in your home, like a step down when you walk inside, you should also make sure that they are either leveled out or blocked off until your toddler is steadier on their feet. The issue with your toddler tripping and falling is that for them, a fall could result in a serious injury in a way that it typically wouldn’t for an adult. According to the CDC, about 17,000 slip and fall accidents occur each year; don’t let your home be the site of a serious incident.
4. Unlocked Doors And Windows
You may not think that your toddler is capable of opening an unlocked door or window, but the moment that you trust this idea is the moment that they became true hazards for your child. The fact is that toddlers are stronger than you think and often have more ingenuity than you would imagine. This is why you need to think about locking down doors and windows, and maybe even adding toddler-safe locks. If a toddler breaks out of your house without your knowledge, of course, there is a huge risk of them just wandering off or hurting themselves.
There are so many issues that you need to consider as the parent of a toddler. Baby gates may need to stay up longer than you expected, but a toddler can potentially climb over the gate, and perhaps even seriously hurt themselves in the process. Another thing you need to consider is teaching your toddler about the risks of hazardous behaviors early on. Your toddler is at an age where they’re learning a lot, and you need to start teaching them to look after themselves on that level. There’s no use in being paranoid, but you should be vigilant.