The idea of child-proofing a home isn't a new one. For decades now, parents have been putting measures in place that keep their kids from interacting with dangerous elements of the home, such as electrical sockets or cabinets containing chemicals.
What if, to completely child-proof a home, you had to remove some toys as well? That's what one woman with an unexpected career has decided, as she comes face to face with the true dangers of childhood every day.
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Taking Every Precaution
Anyone who has ever taken care of a child, even temporarily, knows how harrowing of an experience it can be. The desire to always protect them, to keep them safe from all the world's harms, and to make sure no pain or injury befalls them is a powerful one.
That's a lot easier said than done, though, as kids are curious beings who want to try every new thing they see or come up with, not fully able to understand the potential consequences of their actions. This means even seemingly benign objects can become great hazards, a fact that one woman on TikTok has seen firsthand.
Her Hard Lines
Lauren, or @lovee.miss.lauren on TikTok, works as a mortician. She comes face to face with death every single day and has seen things most of us know we wouldn't be able to handle. As with any job in the death industry, she's not only seen adult deaths but child deaths too—and she's seen what causes them.
That's why a series she made about toys she would never give her own kids due to what she's seen at her job went viral when she posted it around the Christmas season last year.
Though some find her insights a little over-the-top, others were grateful for her perspective, agreeing that the toys featured here might be more dangerous than they're worth.
Water beads are a popular toy for kids, but did you know they didn't start that way? They were originally a floral product, meant to be used in flower arrangements or other houseplant projects as they held onto water that the plants could drink. After slapping some pretty colors and marketing them to kids, they've become a very popular sensory toy.
Water beads are absorbent and, when mixed with water, grow in size quickly. If ingested, they can expand and cause serious injury or death. Even after they're already full size, their appearance to jelly candies means it's totally possible that a child will want to try and eat one, creating a major choking hazard.
Anything Containing Button Batteries
As Lauren writes, "Did you know 3500 Americans swallow button batteries every year? And if your child swallows one, you really only have a couple of hours to get them to an emergency room for medical attention before permanent damage or death can happen?"
She explains that these tiny batteries can get stuck in a child's esophagus or stomach lining, both of which can cause serious damage very quickly. The sad thing is many toys use button batteries because of their compact size, so they may be hard to avoid. Lauren advises that if you can't rid your home of them completely, to at least fully and properly dispose of them once they're dead, and make sure your kids can't access the ones inside their favorite toys.
Balloons are an extremely common party decoration. In fact, it's hard to find a child's birthday celebration that doesn't have some balloons present. Balloons always have the risk of popping, thus startling someone and causing a fall or a tantrum in a kid, but that's not the real danger they pose.
If a child is playing with a balloon when it pops, there's a risk of inhalation, and as Lauren wrote in one of the comments on her TikTok, "[...] when CPR is performed it doesn't work and inflates the balloon instead." This could also happen if a child is trying to blow up a balloon, but due to lower lung capacity an inexperience, winds up sucking it right back into their throat. Not to mention that little bits of colorful balloons left over from popping are also a choking hazard for young kids.
"We're talking about the death traps known as hammocks. They've actually recalled so many of these over the years I've lost count," says Lauren. She says that the rocking motion hammocks make can cause an infant to roll side-to-side, get wedged against the fabric on the side, and sustain injury from getting limbs trapped within the folds of the hammock.
Even worse is if their head or neck gets caught, making for a major strangulation risk. She advises that it's even worse if you're putting a baby in there to sleep, as they're even more likely to be unsupervised.
Fidget spinners are still incredibly popular toys, especially among younger children, and in a way, their extremely wide popularity has increased their potential dangers as everyone tries to cash in on this market.
To start, some fidget spinners have been found to contain harmful levels of lead, which can do serious harm if ingested. Moreover, since the spinning motion of a fidget spinner relies heavily on small pieces and bearings, should the toy break, all those tiny pieces will come spilling out and create a choking hazard. Lauren says it's only a matter of time before they break, too, as they see heavy daily use and were not built to last forever. Not to mention that the ones that feature lights often use button batteries, which we covered earlier.
Lauren calls jump ropes a "monstrosity," then says, "In fact, if you Google jump rope deaths, you will immediately see why I do not like them."
If you do as she says, you'll find numerous reports of young children dying due to accidental strangulation as the jump rope got tangled around themselves or other playground equipment they were near.
Lauren says it's a fine toy if they're being supervised, but it's the creative, unsupervised use of what are essentially long bits of rope that leads to these tragic deaths. She also says she "hates toys with strings for the very same reason."
Keeping An Eye Out
Of course, anything and everything is capable of hurting a child. Life is full of risk! Cars, playgrounds, any food or drink, other kids, all of these and more can play a part in an injury or death of a child, but that doesn't mean it's not worth looking out for extraneous causes that are easy to keep out of the home. No, you can't protect your kid from everything, but you can at least remove some likely outliers.
It's also worth remembering not to wrap your kid in proverbial bubble wrap because you're scared of them getting hurt. Injuries are inevitable while growing up, and making a mistake that results in such helps kids learn to be more careful on their own. Robbing them of that opportunity for creative play and learning will only harm them socially the older they get.
Keep your kids safe, watch over them, but make sure you aren't taking away the joy of being a kid.