Children are naturally curious. They touch, taste, squeeze and squish everything they can get their hands on. This can mean skillfully locating whatever it is inside your handbag (or man bag), nappy bag, swimming bag or supermarket shopping bags.
Bags with pockets are particularly interesting for children. Basically, the more pockets there are, the more hidden opportunities present themselves for children to examine, play with or eat whatever is hidden inside!
Nappy bags are the worst offenders. Many parents parent have misplaced their keys in the depths of a nappy bag at some time!
Unfortunately, parents are not always aware that some of the items in their bags are unsafe for children to play with. Sometimes, items that seem harmless at first glance can be the most dangerous for children.
Child Injury Prevention Project Officer for Kidsafe South Australia, McKeely Maney, shares a few items that are best kept away from children’s reach.
All medications are dangerous for children if ingested accidentally- but one of the most overlooked medicines commonly in your bag is Paracetamol. It tends to be a medicine that you typically have at hand and most likely hangs out in your handbag or on your bedside table.
Medications are particularly attractive for children to play with, “Kids love to pop them out of the blister pack and put them in their mouth, but this can be fatal,” says McKeely.
It is important to note that blister packs are not the only potential hazard for your child. Childproof caps on liquid medications for example, are designed as a precautionary measure only. The caps may slow children down, not necessarily prevent them accessing medicine.
McKeely suggests that older brothers, sisters, friends and grandparents can be instructed on taking preventive measures to protect a small child from any danger; “It should be at the front of everybody’s mind,” advises McKeely.
2. Hand Sanitiser
“Not everyone is aware that hand sanitisers have a high alcohol percentage,” says McKeeley. This makes them highly toxic to children. The often bright colours and pleasant fragrance can make them doubly appealing to children.
Tip: Swap your hand sanitiser for wet wipes - they are a safer alternative to gel sanitisers.
Perfumes smell nice and children tend to be drawn to them, but, like hand sanitisers, perfumes contain a high percentage of alcohol and other chemicals, which makes them toxic if ingested.
4. Button batteries
“We know that more and more items are powered by button batteries,” highlights McKeeley. They present a hazard not just because of their small size (which makes them easy to swallow), but, if ingested, they can cause an electric chemical reaction in the throat within an hour. Tragically, young children have died from swallowing button batteries.
Tip: Be careful - a toy bag might just be the place where you have a few of these handy- your child’s night light may also run on these. Put the light out of arm’s reach.
Check your home for button batteries and store them in a place out of your child’s reach.
5. Dishwashing tablets
While this isn’t an item you’d be keeping in your handbag, lots of people keep dishwashing tablets and liquids under the sink, which makes them fairly accessible to children.
An open dishwasher can also become dangerous for an unsupervised child. Toddlers can easily access the dishwashing tablets. Pieces of tablets that haven't completely dissolved after the cleaning cycle are also a threat. If consumed, they are caustic and toxic.
Tip: Find a safe place to keep your dishwashing tablets and cleaning products. It is best to make them inaccessible for both crawling babies and walking toddlers.
Children learn about new things by exploring their environment. There are so many wonderful things for young children to discover and you as their parent can create a safe environment for them to explore.
Tips: Here are a few more simple things you can that will help make your home and bags a safer place for your children to discover.
- keeping medicines out of reach
- swapping alcohol based products for safer options
- keeping dishwasher tablets where only adults about the house can easily find them
- keeping an eye on your child while they are playing to make sure their curiosity is satisfied within safe boundaries.
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