Top 7 Hidden Dangers in Your Home Decor
Making your house a home is every parent’s dream. All we wish is to create a safe environment for our family to grow, love, and live. But little did we know, when we became parents that there would be hidden dangers throughout our thoughtfully decorated home.
After 15 years as parents, it is safe to say that our family’s style had gone from “modern Scan design” to “family chic with an eye for safety”. I am almost ashamed to admit how long it took us to fully comprehend how many hidden dangers and safety hazards were in our home.
Once our oldest became somewhat mobile, I did what I thought was expected of me: I covered EVERY electrical outlet with plastic covers – even the outlets above the kitchen counter, way out of any child’s reach. Every outlet was covered, but sadly, that was the extent of our initial babyproofing.
How to find the hidden dangers in your home:
One day, a dear friend told me how she had spent HOURS on her hands and knees looking for potential toddler hazards in their home. I immediately went home, dropped down on all fours, and was blown away at the possible dangers that were now within my reach.
Getting down at your child’s crawling or walking level is literally an eye-opening experience. The world looks very different from that vantage point and things you never considered to be dangerous, can be downright life-threatening.
My friend’s advice stuck with me for years. Every few months, while the kids were young, I got down on the floor and looked at our home from a child’s eye view. (This was also a great way to clean lost Happy Meal toys from under the couch.)
Next time you need to child-proof your home, get down on all fours and look – really look at everything from a whole new angle and try to think like a curious child. Things to look for, as they may be enticing for a child and could become a hazard:
- Long cords hanging or laying on the floor.
- Dangling strings.
- Colorful plants and flowers.
- Tall pieces of furniture.
- Brightly colored fragile objects.
Now that our kids are 8 through 15 years old we have removed the plastic electrical covers, but so many of the other safety features throughout our home have become a way of life and a style preference. We will never return to our old unsafe ways.
When looking around your house, these are the top 7 hidden dangers found in many family homes. Thankfully there are plenty of safe alternatives available, which I have also listed.
Top 7 hidden dangers in many homes:
- Corded blinds:
- According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), window coverings with cords or tassels can be a potential strangulation hazard for infants and young children.
- US Safety Standards require that all current window coverings must be cordless or have inaccessible cords. Products recommended and designed for families with young children are labeled with the Best for Kids™ logo and have undergone third-party testing. The Best for Kids™ products are available at all major US retailers.
- Once you find a cordless window covering of your liking, you will never want to deal with long tangled cords again. I am speaking from experience.
- Get more information about these safety recommendations from the Window Covering Safety Council.
- Coffee tables:
- One of the first things to go once our oldest started walking was our coffee table. I had nightmares about him falling face-first into a sharp corner of the coffee table.
- A great coffee table alternative is a soft ottoman. We currently have one that’s large enough to hold a tray with drinks and our vast collection of remote controls.
- Candles are the ambassadors of hygge, aren’t they? However, it’s painfully self-explanatory why candles are not a good idea in a house with small children. You don’t have to live without great ambiance lighting in your home, though. I have found battery-operated candles to be a worthy substitute for real candles, without the risk of fire and toxic fumes.
- Essential oils:
- Not all essential oils are created equal and not all of them are safe to use in homes with infants and young children.
- Ask a trusted health care professional before you fill your diffuser with essential oils or apply them to a child’s skin.
- Toxic plants:
- Were you a plant parent before you became a parent to a human? If so, it might be time to revisit your plant inventory to make sure that the greenery around your home is safe for little curious fingers (and mouths). Some of the most common houseplants are poisonous to humans and pets.
- Tall furniture and TVs:
- Remember the last time you put together a bookcase and had leftover brackets? Those “extra” pieces of hardware were there for a reason, to anchor the furniture to the wall. This simple step may save a child’s life if they decide to use the bookcase or TV as climbing equipment.
- Electrical cords:
- Hide and cover your electrical cords. For one, you don’t want your child unplugging them and then having access to the outlet. But a long cord, like with the window coverings, is a potential strangulation hazard.
Remember, you don’t have to forego hygge and style for the sake of having a safe and childproof home. You simply have to shop and decorate smarter. Think softer textures without sharp edges and corners, anchoring furniture, and no hanging strings or cords. After all, a safe environment is exactly what makes a house a home.