Protecting Kids And Pets At Home

Many Parents Aren't Aware Of Hidden Dangers In The Home

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Right now, there are probably things in people's homes that are putting their kids and their pets at risk.

Parents may think their doing a good job of keeping their family safe, but when was the last time they walked through with a checklist, and really made sure?

Nikki Kimbleton took a nurse from poison control to a home in Oakleaf, and put one family to the test.

The Beaudrie's have two kids, two dogs and a very clean house. But nurse Vicki Coppen from poison control was only there a few minutes, and she found a hazard. It's in most homes, hand sanitizer. The problem? It normally contains alcohol.

"Alcohol, if ingested by a child, not only will it cause the child to become inebriated, but it causes low blood sugar and can be dangerous in small children," Coppen said.

Coppen started in the living room, where she says you don't typically find too many hidden dangers. "I see you've got a coffee cup, that's great as long as it's coffee in it. One of the mistakes people make is putting cleaners in mugs or coffee mugs. So we have to make sure we always leave things in their original containers".

Then she moved on to the kitchen. Where she went through drawers and cabinets. "This is the danger zone here and these don't have child locks. And even with older children, sometimes kids make a mistake".

Beaudrie's kids are eight and twelve. Nurse cotton says while the older ones may not get into chemicals under the sink, the pets can.

Putting them up high in the kitchen protects the animals. But if you have small kids, the best option is to use child locks.

'If they think a cookie is up high, they are going to climb to get that cookie, so even on higher cabinets we need child locks if we have small children," Coppen said.

Walking though the kids rooms and other main areas of the house, everything looked safe to Coppen. But when she looked at the bathrooms, she again found some hazards, first in the kids area. "It's not really the most dangerous, but the most common. Cosmetics and personal products. And that's because we leave things laying out. Nail polish is one of the most common ones".

While everything under the sink was ok, that wasn't the case when she opened the kids medicine cabinet. "Isopropol alcohol is extremely dangerous if ingested. It needs to be out out of sight. If you had a small child, that would be something you need to keep in your bathroom that's locked".

In the Beaudrie's bathroom, Coppen noticed some stuff immediately. "We have nail polish remover, lotions and deodorant", and these are all potentially dangerous if consumed. On the good side, there were no medicines or pills within sight under the sink even, and even the ones in the cabinet were in a safe place. "They're up high, they're out of sight, that's wonderful, and if you have small children, you would want to make sure it had a baby lock on it".

Coppen said the reason she's so concerned about checking for prescription medications is because, "I wanted to show people how similar pills and candy can look if left out. That's part of the problem, it can be so confusing. We have to be very careful that these are put away".

One more room to go on the checklist, the garage. And this is where Coppen found the most danger.

"Right here we have a gas can on the ground, accessible to kids and pets. Over here we have mineral spirits like paints and such. These can all be catastrophic is consumed," Coppen said.

Even though there were quite a few very toxic items within easy access, Coppen says this is a simple fix. Just put them on the very back of a very high shelf.

So what grade did Coppen give the Beaudrie's in overall safety? "I'd give them a B plus, he's done very well for his age children."

But after this, Kenny Beaudrie thinks he can do better. "What surprised me the most was my garage, because my garage is always that way."

Beaudrie's first step was putting the poison control magnet on his fridge. But he says more are coming. "I'm going to move everything higher, move all of my supplies higher so they can't get into them."

One more tip from Nurse Coppen is if you have plants in and around your home, know exactly what they are. If your child or pet ingests one, you don't want to waste valuable time figuring out exactly what they got into.