The Toddler Dangers Lurking in Your Home

When I first read this story about the arrest of an Oregon mother whose 2-year-old accidentally overdosed on ecstasy, I couldn’t help wondering what a toddler trip would consist of. Elmos in every corner? Marshmallows? Primary colors? Thankfully, the baby survived. 

Then comes along this news item about yet another mom, this time in Salt Lake City, put in the slammer when her 19-month-old tested positive for alcohol, cocaine, and methamphetamines. Good God!  What is going on?

It seemed like I was still in the delivery room when I got the first urgent lecture about babyproofing. “Cabinet locks! Foam corners!” I babyproofed like the best of them and lived without fear that my kids would crawl over and discover something toxic, sharp, or liable to land on their heads. Those were the simple times, but soon my kids grew both smarter and more dexterous. This is a good time to brush up on toddler proofing.


1. Matches -- Even though I don’t smoke and I know very few people who do, I cannot resist a book of matches on my way out of a restaurant. I used to throw them in my purse and forget about them. That is, before I discovered a book that had been moved from my purse to my toddler’s Hello Kitty clutch. Keep those cute little matchbooks away from temptation.

2. Car keys -- Although car keys aren’t dangerous, they are probably more tempting to my daughter than matchbooks. After way too many hours spent looking for my keys, I finally installed a hook near the door and out of little kid reach. Plus, they will eventually be smart enough to start the car. You don't need to give them the means to do so.

3. Tampons -- The first time I found my daughter playing with tampons, I thought it was funny. She’d handed them out to a select group of dolls and stuffed animals to use as microphones. After a while, however, she started asking me a million questions. She found my stash of maxi-pads too, which I told her can be used as mattresses for Smurfs. Clearly, I’m not ready to explain menstruation to my kids, and no one wants toddlers using these items as they were intended. So, now feminine hygiene products go on  the tippy top shelf in the bathroom. Out of sight, out of mind.

4. Medicines -- This one is obvious, but I think it’s worth a mention because it’s so important. Keep any drugs, from vitamins to ecstasy (if you swing that way), under lock and key.  I’m talking about a padlock, by the way. Don’t risk it!

5. The things in that drawer -- All my adult life I’ve had that drawer. You know, the one with the lighter, condoms, weed (from the time before kids), and other naughty things live. I haven’t visited that drawer in years and years. But recently someone else has. Goodbye drawer, I’ll miss you. See you in about 16 years!

How have you toddler proofed your home?

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