Life Lessons: Household hazards

Author: , Anchor / Reporter,
Published: Apr 05 2013 05:00:00 AM EDT

Studies show accidental injuries are the leading cause of death in children and many of these injuries occur in the home.

About 16 million kids go to the emergency room every year after getting hurt in their homes.

Most of us take precautions against obvious dangers, but there are some things kids will do that you may not have thought of. Even the most seasoned parents can be caught off guard.

Take Lyssha and Jake Bowden who have six kids. They know a thing or two about child proofing.

"Any toy that has loose parts, small parts, electric outlets are all dangerous," says Jake.

But even with all of that caution, Tino, their only son, proved boys will be boys when he swallowed 16 tiny craft magnets. Within an hour, he was in the hospital.

Jake explains, "When we saw the X-ray, we actually saw that a couple days prior, he'd also been eating magnets, along with a Christmas tree light fuse that was down there."

Once swallowed, magnets can attract and "glue" the esophagus, stomach or small bowel tissue together. Once that happens, a surgeon has to step in.

"They need surgery because they are very tight together," explains Dr. Manoochehr Karjoo, pediatric gastroenterologist with Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital.

Another danger, says the doctor: swallowing just one mouthful of baby oil can cause lung inflammation and death.

Ingesting Visine can cause breathing problems and seizures.

Just a few teaspoons of hand sanitizer can cause alcohol poisoning in kids.

Dr. Karjoo says, "I know they warn on the box, but when the danger's in the house, all the kids, they have access to it."

Batteries also pose a risk to kids. From 1997 to 2010, studies show 40,000 kids were treated in the ER for battery ingestion.

Dr. Sangeeta Bhargava, is a pediatric gastroenterologist in Orlando, Florida. She says batteries are a choking risk.

"If they get stuck in the esophagus, they can do damage very, very quickly."

The doctor says the most common items she sees kids ingest is pennies. She says pennies are dangerous because they too can get stuck in the esophagus.

The bottom line is to be very cautious when kids are involved.

Everyday hazards