Hidden home dangers injure thousands of children every year

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

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.

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Morgan  LoewMorgan Loew is an investigative reporter at CBS 5 News. His career has taken him to every corner of the state, lots of corners in the United States, and some far-flung corners of the globe.

Click to learn more about Morgan .

Morgan Loew
CBS 5 Investigates

Morgan’s past assignments include covering the invasion of Iraq, human smuggling in Mexico, vigilantes on the border and Sheriff Arpaio in Maricopa County. His reports have appeared or been featured on CBS News, CNN, NBC News, MSNBC and NPR.

Morgan’s peers have recognized his work with 11 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards , two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for investigative reporting, an SPJ First Amendment Award and a commendation from the Humane Society of the United States. Last fall, Morgan was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle, in recognition of 25 years of contribution to the television industry in Arizona.

Morgan is a graduate of the University of Arizona journalism school and Concord Law School. He is the president of the Arizona First Amendment Coalition and teaches media law and TV news reporting at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

When he’s not out looking for the next big news story, Morgan enjoys hiking, camping, cheering for the Arizona Wildcats and spending time with his family at their southern Arizona ranch.

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