Button batteries, blind cords and small magnets are three hidden hazards around the home which need to be put out of reach of young children.
Button or coin-sized lithium batteries power common electronic devices such as remote controls and bathroom scales. If swallowed, button batteries can get stuck in a child’s throat and burn through the oesophagus in as little as two hours. Tragically, a four-year-old Queensland girl died in July this year after swallowing a button battery that burned a hole in her stomach.
Find devices which use button batteries and keep these – as well as any spare batteries – out of sight and out of reach. Examine the devices and make sure the battery compartment is secure. Dispose of used button batteries immediately and if you suspect your child has swallowed a battery, go to the emergency room immediately.
Blind and curtain cords are another often overlooked hazard. Cords can quickly wrap around a child’s throat and strangle them. Sixteen Australian children have died in this way between 1999 and 2013, one as recent as August this year where sadly a toddler in New South Wales died after being found in his cot with a blind cord around his neck. Secure loose blind cords out of reach by using cleats or tensioning devices so child can’t reach the cord from the floor or by climbing on furniture.
Small high-powered magnets sold as desk toys, games and puzzles were banned in 2012 but may still be lurking in homes. If you have any of these products dispose of them immediately. If a child swallows more than one small high-powered magnet, the magnets can stick together across the walls of the child’s intestine and can lead to severe internal injuries and even death.
To find out more parents and carers can download the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s free Keeping Baby Safe app. The app features safety information and buying tips for more than 30 different infant nursery products. Further information is also available at www.productsafety.gov.au/keepingbabysafe.