Child proofing expert uncovers hidden hazards

What parents need to look out for

KANSAS CITY, Mo - While many parents might think their homes are the safest place for their children to be, in reality, it's the place where children are most often injured.

Jamie Cordaway is a stay-at-home mom. She spends her days chasing an energetic 16-month-old around her Platte County home.

With Cordaway and her husband expecting another baby in August, she wanted to make sure her home is childproofed but didn't know where to begin.

Jessica Earnshaw, executive director for Charlie's House, is a childproofing expert.

She walked through Cordaway's home and picked out some obvious and some of the less obvious hazards that parents might not notice.

Earnshaw says heavy objects, like televisions and dressers, need to be fastened to the wall with anti-tip safety straps.

Even refrigerators need to be locked because children have a tendency to climb on the shelves when reaching for food, said Earnshaw. Safety First sells refrigerator locks at various stores. 

"I've actually seen a refrigerator fall on a woman before," Earnshaw said.

Charlie's House has safety kits that are given out at local events. But, Earnshaw says the child proofing items they distribute can be bought at almost any store. Many of them are less than $5.

Another hazard Earnshaw spotted in Cordaway's home was the front-load washer and dryers.

"Kids can come in here and actually climb in," Earnshaw said. "It takes a lot of pressure to get yourself out of there and kids aren't strong enough [to get out]. 

Earnshaw said the same lock used to keep kids out of the refrigerator can be used to keep kids out of the washer and dryer.

She also said food dishes for pets are a hazard for crawlers.

"If a small crawling child crawls to the bowl of water and falls face first and can't push themselves out or don't know to do that--at that age they can drowned."

Earnshaw said it only takes two inches of water for an infant to drowned, which is why she also suggests parents place a lock on their toilets. 

Another safety hazard are window blind cords. Hundreds of children have died from strangulation from cords that are too long. Earnshaw suggest purchasing cord wraps

Also, if you're child is of the age where he/she can open doors, Earnshaw suggests placing an extra lock on doors that lead to the outside of the home. She said they should be placed high enough where the child can't reach. 

Charlie's House has a list of safety hazards on its website that parents can use as a resource. There are even online tutorials that show parents how to install safety devices. 

Watch the video of the safety walk through at Cordaway's home in the video player above. 


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