Hidden home dangers injure thousands of children every year

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Laundry detergent packets are a common, convenient way to make sure your dirty clothes come out of the wash with that "like new" clean look. But in 2015, it is estimated that five thousand children ate detergent packets, and were treated at emergency rooms across the country for unintentional poisonings.

Laundry detergent is just one of the common household substances that sent a total of 82,000 children to emergency rooms in 2015, which was the most recent year from which statistics are available.

"There are things that we, as adults, we don't think that they're harmful," said Capt. Reda Bigler of the Phoenix Fire Department.

She points to blue Gatorade and Windex as examples of two liquids that may look the same to a young child. Apple juice and floor polish, Red Hots and Sudafed, chocolate Ex Lax and chocolate bars, and Tums and candy wafers are other examples of common household medicines, and cleaners that a child could confuse with juice or candy.

"It's really hard to tell the difference. They look very similar," said Bigler.

According to yearly tallies by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, even the safest, most child-proof of homes still contain hazards that injure thousands of children each year.

Here are just a few examples:

  • From 2008 to 2010, 25,300 children were treated at emergency rooms for injuries from falling furniture and televisions
  • In 2013, 157,800 house fires started in residential kitchens from cooking equipment. That was nearly half of all residential fires.
  • 307,000 children went to the emergency room from bike accidents
  • 89,000 children were treated at emergency rooms from injuries suffered while jumping on trampolines

Thousands of other children are injured in pools, by fireworks and cars.

"It isn't possible to completely child-proof a home," said Bigler. "But identifying potential dangers, communicating with children, and storing chemicals and medicines out of their reach is an excellent start, she says.

You can find the latest CPSC injury statistics here.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Morgan  LoewMorgan Loew is an investigative reporter on the CBS 5 Investigates team. His reports have landed crooks behind bars and led to changes in state law.

Click to learn more about Morgan .

Morgan Loew
CBS 5 Investigates

He has exposed conmen who prey on the elderly and predators who target women and children. Morgan combines his legal training with the experience he’s earned over 20-years of news reporting in Arizona to break big stories and dig beyond the headlines. His stories about education, consumer scams and crooked politicians have gone on to make national headlines. Among his favorite investigations are the ones that take him undercover. In addition his hidden camera investigations on drug and human smuggling, Morgan infiltrated some of the most dangerous militia and vigilante groups in the southwest. Members were later charged with crimes that range from murder to child molesting. Over the years, Morgan’s work has appeared on CBS News, CNN, NBC, MSNBC, and NPR. Morgan won ten Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards, a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative reporting, the Society of Professional Journalists’ First Amendment Award, and a commendation from the Humane Society of the United States. Morgan is a graduate of the University of Arizona School of Journalism, earned his Juris Doctorate at Concord Law School, teaches media law at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and is the president of the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona, Inc., which advocates for open records and open government. When he’s not working, Morgan enjoys camping, cheering for the Arizona Wildcats, and spending time with his family at their ranch in southern Arizona.

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