1. Multivitamins and Minerals.
Too much of a good thing is bad for you. Lots of delicious chewy colourful animal-shaped multivitamins can do your child more harm than good. Take in too many vitamins and minerals and your body will try to dispose of the excess, but a few do not simply flush out. Iron is especially dangerous because children can't process iron like adults can, and we aren't very good at it. The excess iron doesn't go anywhere, it stays in their bodies and poisons them. Keep iron tablets and syrup with your dangerous medicines locked away, and not on the bedside cabinet. A 24lb (10.8kg) toddler only needs to swallow 2 iron tablets to have taken too many, and 8 iron tablets is a severely toxic dose.
Instead: Do a simple scientific experiment with your older kids to find out 'how much iron is in their breakfast cereal?'
Toothpaste contains Flouride, which in small amounts it is harmless and massively helpful for our teeth. Good mouth health is really more important than you may realise. Unhealthy teeth can be factors in heart disease, respiratory infections and dementia.
Flouride is also a very effective poison. Acute fluoride poisoning occurs at doses as low as 0.1 to 0.3 mg per kg of bodyweight, and a long stripe of toothpaste on a small brush can contain 1.5mg of flouride. Enough to give your one year old a very nasty tummyache...
Instead: Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste for brushing, polish your phone screen, remove stains and draw out your pimples! Here are some other uses for toothpaste that don't involve your teeth.
3. Cotton buds.
Not the ones with a big spoon, standard little ones. Kids will poke them everywhere, but especially anywhere they shouldn't go, and a cotton bud jammed into a keyhole is really annoying. A cotton bud shoved into child's ear can do a lot of harm. Keep them out of reach and don't let the kids see you digging for treasure either.
Instead: Use cotton buds to clean inside the spout in sippy cups.
4. Boring Looking Plants.
Quite a few plants and flowers are a weeny bit poisonous. They can look and smell great, who wouldn't want to eat them? And your small child will, all the time. What's more surprising is that crawlers and toddlers are constantly grabbing and chewing leaves. Some of the most poisonous plants in the UK are boring-looking, and stunningly common, including Privet, Yew and Hogweed. Children get confused by the differences between edible plants and decorative ones, which parts are edible and which are poisonous, and cannot be held responsible if they get it wrong. Learn for yourself about which plants in your garden are poisonous, and teach your children not to eat anything you don't eat first.
Instead: Grow vegetables or fruit in your garden, in pots or window boxes. Teach your children to cook with vegetables and find out which vitamins you are eating. It may just help in a zombie apocalypse...
5. Hanging Cord Loops.
|See the problem?|
|See the problem now?|
Instead: Pull your blinds or curtains to exactly half way closed and cut the string where it loops. Tie a knot on each end or fasten beads or bits of wood (or whatever floats your boat) so that when you pull the cord it doesn't unravel.
6. Washing Machines and Tumble Driers.
Seriously it is not funny to see that photo of your child lying giggling in the washing machine on my Facebook feed. I am not laughing, I'm think-screaming at you to quit it and tell them off so much that they never consider it again. You only have to Google 'child suffocates in washing machine' and see that list of newspaper headlines once.
Instead: Always switch your machine off at the socket, encourage your child to make houses from boxes, and dens behind the sofa. Teach them to fill the washing machine only with clothes...preferably split into colours/whites/delicates...
7. Washing Machine and Dishwasher Liquitabs.
Colourful, squishy, smelly, and oh so interesting, they contain really concentrated soap. Soap is alkaline and it burns human flesh really effectively. If your child squeezes a liquitab to burst it, or worse bites it, they will burn their skin. If the soap goes down their throat then they may need assistance breathing and need to be in hospital as quickly as possible.
Instead: Keep liquitabs out of sight and reach. Make your child a sensory pat mat to squish and play with.
8. Child Safety Equipment.
When we have our first child we work very hard at making our homes safe for them. We buy all the goodies and spend hours researching the best baby-proofing tips. Stair-gates, high chairs and cots are brilliant until your child is too big or too agile or too clever for them.
A toddler who can climb out of their cot has further to fall than a toddler in a bed, likewise a high chair or a dining chair, and a stairgate that can be climbed or opened with a good shove is worse than a child falling from half way down the stairs.
The most dangerous safety equipment of all when used with a child who is too big is their car seat. If they're too heavy then it'll be more likely to fall apart in a crash, and if they're too big then the special shaping (designed to cushion them in a crash) will put extra pressure onto different parts of their body, including the back of their head and their neck.
Instead: Always ensure any car safety equipment is right for the size and age of your child, never just guess that it'll be okay. Embrace the fact your child is growing up. Sell all the baby equipment and buy them their first LEGO. Teach them the safe way to get down the stairs either backwards or on your bum, get them into a real bed and enjoy snuggle time with a book before sleep.
Every single room in your house has a self-operated finger guillotine. We call it a door. We slam them and kick them shut, and hang them so carefully that even a baby can set them off closing, and momentum and weight will make them shut by themselves. ROSPA say that a staggering 30,000 children suffer finger injuries from doors each year, and it is the most common cause of amputation.
Instead: Fit finger guards, wedge doors open, or keep doors closed. Hang a towel over a door to prevent it slamming or blowing shut. Teach everyone in your house to look before they shut, and shut the door gently. It's a skill they'll appreciate when they're 18 and an hour late home...
10. Unsecured Furniture That Serves As A climbing Opportunity.
Not just one chest of drawers from one shop, but all unsecured furniture can become a dangerous climbing frame. Bookcases, shelves and drawers make great steps and ladders. It's bad enough to fall, but far, far worse if the furniture and everything upon it falls with you. Just imagine for a minute what the weight of your child's chest of drawers amounts to, or the shelf holding your collections of Beano Annuals and Nan's bone china.
Instead: Screw everything to the wall.
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