Consumer Reports offers tips for protecting children from household dangers

Wednesday, August 8, 2018
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Parents have to be more diligent than ever with so many possible hazards around the home.

A recent study found that nearly half of poison control emergency calls involved children under the age of 7.

Parents have to be more diligent than ever with so many possible hazards around the home.

According to the nonprofit Safe Kids Worldwide, emergency rooms treat more than 2,800 U.S. children per year after they had swallowed button-batteries.

Smily Tapia once saw her daughter open a toy and put the battery in her mouth.

"I thought she's going to die," Tapia said.

Consumer Reports suggest that parents use a screwdriver to secure battery compartments on toys and other household electronics.

"Button-cell batteries are small flat batteries that look like coins," Consumer Reports Product Safety Expert Don Huber explained. "It becomes a choking hazard and asphyxiation may occur."

Cosmetics or other personal care products are the most common exposures reported to poison control centers for children under 6.

"Many of them contain ethanol, which is the same type of alcohol you find in alcoholic beverages," Huber said. "Just a small amount can cause a young child of say 25 pounds or less to become extremely intoxicated."

Many cleaning products are also potentially dangerous.

When it comes to these items, parents can do more than just store them out of the reach of children.

"Keep personal care products and cleaners and other things in the package in which they were bought because typically they have a child-resistant closure on them," Huber said.

As for those colorful laundry detergent pods that can look like candy, Consumer Reports recommends not even having them in the same house as young children.

After Tapia's scare, she now has specific strategies to keep her house safe.

"I believe that you should keep everything in a safe place even though you think it's nothing, because you never know," she said.

If you suspect that your child ingested some kind of toxic product, contact the 24-hour Poison Help Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.