While you’re working through your spring-cleaning checklist, it’s important for parents to keep little ones in mind. While you’re organizing and cleaning things out, your spring-cleaning chores present the perfect opportunity to ensure various areas of your home are free from potential hazards for your children.

Basic home items and everyday scenarios could present serious emergencies for little kids, and there may be some things you wouldn’t expect or haven’t ever thought of.

Choking
While you’re tackling your junk drawer full of batteries, refrigerator magnets, and old birthday balloons, be sure you find a solution for keeping those items away from toddler hands. Young children get curious and want to put just about everything in their mouths. But common items found in a junk drawer can cause a serious emergency. Batteries and magnets can cause significant internal organ damage. Latex balloons can conform to the throat and block all airflow if ingested, and other small objects can get lodged in the throat, esophagus or intestines. Little kids love tasting new things, so make sure it’s only food that goes in their mouths.

Poisoning
Medicines & cleaning supplies should be kept behind locked cabinet doors, or up high and out of reach. These chemicals are not meant for ingestion, but curious little mouths want to taste everything. Make sure your medicines are in child-safe bottles, and install child safety locks on your cabinet with cleaning supplies to keep children safe from harmful chemicals.

In the kitchen
Knives and stovetops can cause serious lacerations and burns in the kitchen, so safety in the kitchen is especially important for children. Teaching your kids knife and fire safety while cooking is a valuable lesson when they are old enough. Until then, try using your cooking time as an opportunity for your little one to play with your partner or explore something from the safety of their highchair.

Water
Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death in children ages one to four. And drowning can happen in even just a few inches of water! Be sure that any time a child is around any amount of water, an adult is present to supervise. Designate someone as a water-watcher who can be fully present and aware. Also be sure to empty buckets and bathtubs after each use, and install latches on toilets to prevent a child from falling in.

Firearms
In Texas it is common to have firearms in the home. But without proper precaution, guns can cause unintentional harm to children. Nearly 1,300 children die each year from guns. Many parents believe that their child is not strong enough to pull the trigger of a gun, but children as young as three years old are strong enough to be capable of firing a gun. If you have a gun in your home, it should be unloaded and locked away in a safe place, out of a child’s reach. Ammunition should be stored and locked away in a separate location.

If your little one is in trouble, we can help! Texas Emergency Care Center is open 24/7/365 and our staff is trained to provide excellent pediatric emergency care. Ready or not, we are.