There are many hidden dangers in every home. With an incredibly active 7 month old at home, I find myself scrambling to baby-proof my house. It’s overwhelming, and I was surprised to learn just how many hazards are hiding in my cabinets. Fortunately, technology offers something that no lock or child-safety device can provide – a way to monitor your cabinets.
The Dangers Inside Cabinets
My cabinets store everything from dust bunnies clinging onto funky old photographs to unopened wine bottles I received as Christmas presents years ago. Cabinets are a place to store anything and everything. What dangers lie in yours?
Every home has some type of medicine, whether it be aspirin or more serious medication. Would you believe that every year more than 500,000 parents contact poison control because of accidents caused by medicine? In many of these cases, a child has managed to get into a medicine cabinet and ingest something harmful. I think of all the expired medication sitting in a cabinet under my bathroom sink, and cringe at the thought. I know I, like many other parents, need to take action.
Access to medicine in cabinets has become more of an issue as family dynamics continue to evolve.. Grandma and Grandpa are living with Mom, Dad and baby. Along with them comes plenty of hugs … and medicine … most of them easy to open. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a whopping 42% of grandparents store their easy-to-open medication in some type of cabinet or shelf.
I’m not a big drinker, but I do have a fair share of alcohol stashed away for a rainy day. Record numbers of children between the ages of 12 and 14 are drinking alcohol, according to a federal study. About 15% of these children gain access to alcohol unknowingly from their parents. If it’s sitting in a cabinet, it may be tempt a young teen into trying to take it to impress his friends. As much as I’d like to think I can trust my son when he’s 13, I’d rather not give him easy access to alcohol.
And then there’s another problem, drinking alcohol isn’t always intentional. Young children love exploring, and if they come across a bottle of alcohol they may end up drinking it. My son puts everything- sand, rocks, leaves, you name it- in his mouth and I don’t think a bottle of vodka would be any different. Ingesting even small amounts of alcohol can cause low blood pressure and choking in children with possibly fatal results.
3. Cleaning Supplies
All my cleaning supplies are stored under my kitchen sink, easily accessible to me. Unfortunately, they’re also easily accessible to my son. There are many different types of cleaning supplies, and most of them are very harmful when ingested. Bleach, ammonia, furniture polish and detergents are only some of the culprits. I won’t let myself think about what would happen if my baby got his hands on these.
In a 2013 annual report by the American Association of Poison Control, it was discovered that 10.75% of poison exposures in children under the age of 6 were due to the ingestion of household cleaning supplies (http://www.aapcc.org/annual-reports/). Although most of these cases were not fatal, they can be.
The only danger I imagined lurking in my spice cabinet was the danger of over-seasoning my chicken. Unfortunately that’s not the case. Four-year-old Matthew Radar climbed up to reach his parent’s spice cabinet and inhaled powdered cinnamon, he later died of asphyxiation. This unfortunate accident is a reminder that dangers lie everywhere.
Technology As A Solution
With so many dangers hiding in my cabinets, I originally turned to safety latches but that’s a temporary solution. I knew soon enough my little houdini will be able to work the latches and more than likely I would never find out. What I needed what a solution that talked, that’s when I turned to contact sensors.
Contact sensors can be purchased alone, as part of a home automation system, or as part of a home security system. They will alert you when your cabinets have been opened. Some, like the GE Personal Security Door Alarm, will set off a siren if a door has been opened but connected sensors will take it a step further.
If a sensor is connected to a home automation system or to a home security system, you can setup an alert to your smartphone. The alert can be a phone call or a text message letting you know what door was opened and at what time. For me this would be useful as I don’t always have my eyes on my son but an alarm sound would let me know he needs my attention right away giving me the chance to reach him before any damage is done. Popular home automation systems include Wink, SmartThings, and Iris by Lowes. If you prefer to go the home security route, most home security companies will offer a technology to monitor doors and cabinets simply ask them.
There’s enough to worry about as parent, why not delegate some of the responsibility to technology?
Emily Holmes is a contributing author for SecuritySystemsCompare.com. A site dedicated to bringing you the most complete home security comparisons online.