Environmental Hazards for Toddlers

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Toddlers are at high risk for accidents secondary to their lack of coordination, increased mobility, and curiosity and these accidents are the cause of more deaths than all childhood diseases (Edelman & Mandle, 2010). The most common accidental injuries are structural hazards, drowning, burns, poisoning, and motor vehicle accidents (Edelman & Mandle). •Structural hazards include staircases, tabletops, chairs, and playground equipment, which toddlers can fall from. Safety gaits should be used to block access to stairs, chairs should be placed away from countertops and tables to prevent climbing, and close monitoring should be used to prevent injuries (Edelman & Mandle, 2010). •Drowning in toddlers can happen in water just deep enough to cover their nose and mouth. Toddlers should never be left for even a second around any water source whether it is a bucket, small fountain, bathtub, or pool. Very close monitoring, self-locking gates around pools and blocking access such as doggie doors can prevent accidental drownings (Edelman & Mandle, 2010). •Burns from electrical outlets, fireplaces, hot running water, or pulling down pots or glasses from a stovetop or table. Toddlers pull down on things above their reach. Keep them in their playpen while cooking, and do not handle hot drinks while holding a toddler. Also place screens in front of fireplaces. Toddlers are naturally curious and like to put things in their mouth so cover electrical outlets and keep cords out of sight to avoid electrical burns (Edelman & Mandle, 2010). •Poisoning with medications, household cleaners, plants, cosmetics, and lead-based products are another cause of injury or death. All of these items should be placed up and away from a toddler’s reach. Medications should remain in their original bottle as with cleaners. In the event of accidental ingestion of any of these items, they can be identified and reported to Poison Control for prompt treatment. The phone number for Poison Control should...
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