Child safe products and even the watchful eye of a parent are often insufficient to protect precocious children from mishaps. Child-resistant safety lids are no match for most preschoolers, especially those with a knack for the task. Stroller and carrier buckles face similar testing and occasionally fail. Strollers and carriers sometimes tip over.
The problem with child-safe products is that adults seriously underestimate the raw intellect of small children. While small and vastly inexperienced, most toddlers possess a great deal of ingenuity when it comes to escaping restrictive devices and gaining access to just about everything.
Child-safe or child-resistant safety lids are of little help in keeping kids out of medication, cleaning supplies, and insecticides. After reading a few studies and reviewing the statistics, Today invited a group of 4-year-old children to participate in a bottle opening test. They provided the kids with cleaned out bottles that once stored prescription medications, over-the-counter pain relievers, and dangerous cleaning fluids including drain cleaner bottles.
The precocious children accepted the challenge with glee. As parents looked on in horror, every single 4-year-old opened at least one of the bottles, and one precocious little girl opened a child-resistant ibuprofen bottle in three seconds. Another little boy found that he could open many of the bottles quite easily.
Child-safe containers are not sufficient to protect toddlers. Every day 1,100 emergency calls regarding children and medications are reported. NPR reports that 50 preschoolers a day are injured in a stroller or baby carrier.
All child-resistant safety lids are tested according to Pharmacy Times. In order to be considered resistant, 85 percent of preschoolers tested must be unable to open the bottle in less than five minutes. Of course, that leaves 5 percent of the kids perfectly capable of opening the bottle. Then the products are tested with adults. At least 90 percent of the adults have to be able to open and close the bottle in less than five minutes. Kate Carr of Safe Kids explains to Pharmacy Times the dilemma facing manufacturers and safety regulators.
“We don’t want to make it impossible to open something. What we want (is) to make sure is that kids can’t get to medicine.”
Parents should recognize that child-resistant lids are no guarantee that even their toddlers can’t open the bottles. All medications and hazardous chemicals should be kept out of reach of children, preferably in locked cabinets, and anything especially dangerous or unnecessary should be removed from homes with preschoolers.
Innovative child-safe strollers and baby carriers are no guarantees against accidents and injuries. Between 1990 and 2010, nearly 361,000 preschoolers, aged five and under, suffered from stroller and carrier injuries so severe they ended up in emergency rooms, according to NPR.
Despite child-safe product labels and child-resistant lids, toddlers are getting hurt in their homes and on outings. Kristin Roberts of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, told NPR that parents need to buckle up the kids carefully.
“As parents, we use these devices to transport our most precious cargo. And it’s easy to look away just for a second. We want to encourage parents to always buckle their babies into these devices and make sure they’re properly restrained.”
Use stroller wheel locks when parking the stroller and avoid overloading strollers with packages, diaper bags, and the like. Don’t hang heavy items from the handles. Always place the carrier on the floor or ground if possible, and never place carriers or strollers on tables or higher surfaces.
Child safe products, strollers, baby carriers, and child-resistant lids don’t come with guarantees and often fail, so parents must be watchful.
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