Before having children not many people think about the contents of their handbag. I certainly didn’t until it became evident that bags are a source of great fascination to increasingly curious toddlers. If your bag is anything like mine, it will be crammed full of many useful, but many more not so useful items! Everything get’s tossed out of the bag, and anything that looks vaguely interesting goes straight into the mouth for some investigation.
So, what could be in your handbag that could be a hazard to young children?
Coins – They are shiny, and they make a great clinking noise – what’s not to like about coins, if you are a young child? However, they are the perfect size and shape for getting stuck in a child’s airway, causing them to choke. Remember – serious choking happens fast, and often without warning. A child that is choking will not be able to cough or make noise.
Chewing gum – Because of the stretchy, sticky nature of chewing gum, it can get stuck in a child’s airway, therefore posing another choking hazard.
Medicines – You might be saying to yourself, “I don’t carry medicines in my bag”, but hands up who has common painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen in their bag? Even if they are in blister packs, they can be poked at by little fingers, causing them to come free.
Car Keys/Alarm fobs – you are probably thinking, “How can they be harmful?” Many car keys/fobs need button batteries to make them work. If a child swallows a button battery it can be fatal. When button batteries come into contact with saliva, they produce caustic soda (you’ve probably know this better as a chemical for unblocking drains). Any tissue in the surrounding area becomes burnt/corroded by the action of the chemical, causing serious harm. I know from experience that a set of car keys can keep a little one amused for a few minutes when you have nothing else to hand, but please make sure they cannot access the battery compartment, which often isn’t well secured.
Vape/Lighter Fluid – There is a risk of poisoning to young children if they ingest even small amounts of vape/lighter fluid. Most cases are mild, but a child can become seriously ill if larger volumes are swallowed.
Hand sanitiser – People are now carrying small bottles of this product as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hand sanitiser should contain about 70% alcohol for it to be effective against germs. Most alcoholic drinks are between 4% and 40% approximately, so you can very quickly see why hand sanitiser could be very dangerous, even in small volumes.
Cosmetics/Perfumes – another source of potential poisoning in young children. The most commonly found ingredient in cosmetics that causes poisoning is formaldehyde.
Cables (phone chargers/headphones) – these can pose a risk of getting tangled around a little ones neck, resulting in strangulation. They can also get caught around fingers/arms etc causing circulation problems.
So, has that got you all reaching for your handbags now – how many of these potential hazards have you got lurking around in your bags? Check them now, and keep your loved ones safe.
Would you know what to do if your baby or child was choking, or had been poisoned? Daisy First Aid talks about what to do in these situations in all of their 2hr family first aid classes. Find out more or book a class on their website – https://www.daisyfirstaid.com/
Blog author Kirsty runs Daisy First Aid in Sterling, Scotland.