We have heard about distracted driving and how it can cause serious injury and even death. But, what about “distracted parenting” right in your own home? You may not be familiar with this term, but it can be just as dangerous.
Many parents spend their evenings balancing household chores with family relaxation time, however, this is when poison control centers get the most calls. The hours between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. are what’s commonly referred to as the “arsenic hour” by poison control centers, as parents tend to be busy in their homes and less attentive to their children as a result.
Here are some of the most common culprits of “distracted parenting.”
Studies have indicated today’s parents spend more time with their children than parents did 50 years ago. However, parents today are more connected to technology than ever before. In fact, a recent survey suggests the average American spends more than five hours a day looking at a television screen.
Whether you’re watching a sporting event or a movie, it can be difficult to focus on anything else, but the more attention you pay to your TV, the less supervised your kids are. More than 500,000 children under the age of 4 are injured in the home every year, with the greatest amount of accidents occurring in the living area. Reducing your TV time can greatly cut down the chances of your curious kid getting into something potentially dangerous.
Before you reach for the remote tonight, be sure you know what your child is doing. Provide activities for your children in the same room so they stay entertained throughout the television show or movie. If your child becomes restless or wanders off, turn off the screen and resume at a later time.
From raking or shoveling to weeding the garden or washing your car, there is always something to be done outdoors. Including your kids in outdoor chores can be a fun way to bond, but can welcome danger if you fail to direct your full attention to your children.
When outside with your child, be sure doors to your garage and workshop are closed at all times. Curiosity will lead young kids towards items such as lawn chemicals, insecticides, lighter fluid, and paint. Keep all potentially harmful items high off the ground and out of reach. The same rule applies to power tools and sharp objects such as screws, nails, and hooks.
Always make sure your child is in sight, especially in backyards that are not fenced. Open spaces can be a great place for children to run, but a young kid can easily wander off if left unattended for just seconds. Stay close to your child to eliminate the possibility of injury or accidental exposure to something dangerous.
Meal & Kitchen Preparation
Between cooking, washing dishes, and putting away groceries, the average parent spends more than two hours in the kitchen every day. In fact, mothers will spend more than three years of their adult lives in the kitchen, according to a new study. Dinnertime can be a great time to interact with your little ones, but it can also lead to accidents if your children are left unattended.
According to Stanford Children’s Health, more than 90% of poisonings in children occur inside the home. Curiosity in young children often leads to accidental exposure to plants, cleaning products, cosmetics, pesticides, and solvents, some of which are stored under the sink or in kitchen cabinets.
To reduce child poisonings, parents are encouraged to keep a close eye on their children during meal preparation and clean up. If your children are old enough to help with setting the table or drying dishes, invite them to be a part of age-appropriate activities. Entertain toddlers with snacks or stackable toys in their high chair or booster seat. You can also decrease the risk of accidental exposure by eating as a family and powering down cellphones and TV screens during mealtime.
Smartphones and other handheld devices are great ways to keep people connected. But, overuse of smartphones can produce some not-so-smart consequences. According to data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), increased smartphone use by parents and caregivers has led to a 10% rise in unintentional childhood injuries.
Most people don’t realize how much time they spend on their phones and may be surprised to learn the average person spends 4.7 hours per day staring at a mobile device. This means not only are your little ones more likely to get into something potentially harmful, but your reaction time is delayed if your attention is on your phone when the incident happens.
Although silencing your phone or tablet is easier said than done, it’s a critical step for ensuring the safety of your kids. Parents can reduce the risk of injury or accidental exposure in their children by powering down smartphones and other handheld devices during meals and other family time.
Keep Your Home Safe and Your Little Ones Protected with Child-Guard®
Offering parents additional peace of mind in the home is easier with the help of the child-resistant slider, Child-Guard®. Because the child-resistant slider requires additional steps for opening, it makes the package more difficult for children to access, giving parents the reaction time needed if the packaging ends up in the wrong hands.
Reducing distractions in the home and storing potentially harmful substances in child-resistant packaging can give parents a sense of relief when it comes to protecting the lives of young children. The slider is already featured on popular brands of laundry detergent and is expected to make its way to other markets, including home and garden, cosmetics and personal care, and pet products in the future.
What products would you like to see include child-resistant packaging? Let us know on social media using the hashtag #guardit. Be sure to follow Child-Guard® on Twitter and like our page on Facebook for more helpful advice on keeping your little ones safe.