Surprising dangers to children in your home

We are all familiar with the basics of childproofing our homes — locking away the cleaning supplies, putting knives out of reach, etc. However, you might not be aware of some other safety hazards.

Little boy blowing up balloon

Check out these surprising dangers to children in your home.

Latex balloons

Kids love balloons, but they can be a big choking hazard. Latex balloons can conform to the throat and block breathing. Don’t let kids under 10 blow up balloons on their own, and never leave young children unattended while playing with latex balloons. Try to buy Mylar balloons instead whenever possible.


Small disk batteries that are found in calculators, hearing aids, watches and other items can be extremely dangerous, even fatal, if swallowed. Double-A and triple-A batteries that are used in many electronic toys are also hazardous. Though not as easily swallowed as the disk/button batteries, these batteries can become lodged in the throat. Keep a close watch on babies, toddlers and other young children around any item with batteries.

Baby oil

You are probably aware that baby powder can cause damage to your little one if breathed in, but some bath and baby oils are a danger as well. Some of these products contain liquid hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons can cause a very serious breathing condition often leading to irreversible lung damage and sometimes even death if the hydrocarbons are aspirated into their lungs.

Hand sanitizer

You might keep hand sanitizer on the bathroom counter or other convenient places around your home, but it should definitely be kept out of reach of young kids. Hand sanitizer often contains 60 percent or more ethyl alcohol. If ingested in large amounts, your child could become intoxicated or even experience alcohol poisoning. In an unusual drinking trend, some teens are distilling and drinking hand sanitizer these days.


You might be surprised that a number of ingredients in toothpaste could be hazardous to your child. Of course, kids swallow a little bit of toothpaste when they are brushing their teeth. But if they were to swallow half the tube, then you need to take them to the doctor. Large amounts of fluoride can be very dangerous, plus the sorbitol (the ingredient that keeps the toothpaste from drying out) and the sodium lauryl sulfate (the ingredient that makes the toothpaste foam) can cause diarrhea and other digestive issues. Young kids love the taste of toothpaste, so always keep an eye on them while they are brushing their teeth and put the toothpaste out of reach when they are finished.

Your purse

Many of us leave our purses lying around the house without giving it a second thought. But what’s inside your purse can be very dangerous to children. Inside, you’ll find a number of choking hazards, from pen caps to hard candy to change. Additionally, you may have medications and cosmetics that could be hazardous if ingested, as well. And don’t forget about things like nail scissors, safety pins, tweezers and other small, sharp objects.

When babyproofing or childproofing your home, think beyond household cleaners and other obvious safety hazards. Though you don’t need to be paranoid, you do need to be careful in order to protect children from potential poisoning, injury or illness.

More about home and child safety

Safety first: The safe home guide
Babyproofing your bathroom
Your annual home safety checkup


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