From Pet Bowls to Vitamins: 5 Hidden Dangers at Home

HomeFrom Pet Bowls to Vitamins: 5 Hidden Dangers at Home


Rebecca Edwards

Security Expert, Safety & Tech Reporter

August 28, 2023Share Article

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Need to Know from SafeWiseChildren can drown in just 1-2 inches of water in under 30 seconds.Home exercise gear injures up to 25,000 kids each year and around 2,600 of those end up in the emergency room.Children under 5 account for 73% of all nonfatal choking injuries and 75% of choking deaths.Vitamins are one of the top 5 causes of accidental poisoning in children.

Nestled within our homes, we often feel an unparalleled sense of security. However, even in the coziest corners of our sanctuaries, unseen dangers might be lurking, especially for our young ones. Here’s a breakdown of five commonly overlooked hazards in the household. Keeping these potential threats in check ensures a safer environment for everyone.

Image: miodrag ignjatovic

1. The unassuming pet water bowl: A hidden risk
Ross Smith, the brainchild behind Safer Little Steps, recently highlighted a shocking revelation: Children can drown in water as shallow as one to two inches in just 30 seconds. Ross’s educational TikTok provides lifesaving guidance in the dire event of a child drowning.

Pet bowl safety precautions

Always supervise: Ensure that kids are constantly monitored near water sources, including pet bowls.
Positioning: Place pet bowls in areas inaccessible to crawling children. Safety gates can serve as barriers.
Emergency protocols: If a child seems unresponsive post drowning, call 911 immediately, and begin CPR. 

Image: PabloBenitezLope

2. Home exercise equipment: An underestimated threat
Despite its health benefits, home exercise equipment is responsible for injuring a staggering 25,000 children annually, with approximately 2,600 requiring emergency medical attention.

Workout equipment safety precautions

Restricted access: Ensure your exercise area is locked or install safety gates to keep children out.
Education: For older kids, teach them how to properly use the equipment— including safety protocols for getting on and off a treadmill, elliptical, or other piece of home workout equipment.

Image: Koh Sze Kiat

3. Magnets: Choking hazard beyond the fridge
We all know how kids love to stick things in their mouths and magnets often fit the bill thanks to their small size, bright colors, and fun designs. But magnets aren’t just on the fridge—this danger is often hiding on the insides of cabinets or sewn into tablecloths, drapes, and shower curtains. With or without magnets, children younger than five accounted for 73% of nonfatal choking injuries and 75% of choking fatalities in children aged zero to 19 years between 2001 and 2016.

Choking safety precautions

Size matters: Magnets smaller than 1 ¼ inches in diameter must be placed out of children’s reach.
Routine inspection: Frequently check cabinets and other spots for loose magnets, and make sure fridge magnets haven’t migrated within the grasp of little fingers.
Emergency protocols: In case of choking, refer to our detailed choking safety guide for babies, children, and adults.

Image: photovs

4. Storm drains: Silent yet deadly
With unpredictable weather patterns becoming more commonplace, the role of storm drains in flash floods has become increasingly precarious, turning them into potential death traps. So far this year, the National Weather Service reports 54 fatalities from flash flooding across the country, with 13% of those being children under 10. 

Storm drain safety precautions

Weather watch: During heavy rainfall or flash flood warnings, ensure children are kept away from street gutters and drainage ditches.
Education: Teach kids what storm drains are, the risks of being swept in and stuck, and why they should stay away.

Image: Juanmonino

5. Gummy vitamins: Delicious but dangerous
Gummy vitamins, due to their enticing appearance and flavor, rank among the top five causes for accidental poisoning in children. Annually, they send about 4,600 kids rushing to the emergency room.

Gummy vitamin safety precautions

Safe storage: Even with tamper-proof caps, always store vitamins where children cannot access them. The best way to keep tiny hands away from medications and vitamins is to use a locking cabinet or safe.
Emergency protocols: If you suspect an overdose, call the Poison Control help hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or dial 911 immediately.

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Child Safety Tips
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Baby Proof It: A Room-by-Room Guide to Securing Your Home

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Written by

Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more.
You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader’s Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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