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To Grandmother’s House You Go… But Beware These Four Deadly Dangers for Infants and Young Children:

Release Date: December 19, 2019

Washington, DC-- Around the country, parents are packing for holiday travel, and extended family is preparing for visits. But beyond the tree trimming and candle lighting, hidden hazards can lurk, threatening to turn the holiday into tragedy.

“Think of bringing your baby or child to an unfamiliar home just like going to a great new playground,” says U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Acting Chair Robert Adler. “Your child can have a great time, but you should be aware of all the potential pitfalls of that new environment.”

Consider, for example, where baby will sleep during the visit. Make sure baby is sleeping in a flat, bare crib, bassinet or play yard. Do not use cribs older than 10 years, those with a drop side, or that are broken or modified. Infants can strangle to death if their bodies pass through gaps between loose components or broken slats while their heads remain entrapped. Baby should not sleep in the bed with you or in an inclined sleep product, since both scenarios can lead to suffocation, entrapment and death.

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When a young child is old enough to reach, walk, or climb, the dangers in an unfamiliar home multiply. Every 43 minutes a child is injured or killed by a TV or furniture tip-over incident. Make sure that dressers, bookcases, and televisions are anchored firmly to the wall or keep your child away from them.

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About once a month, a child between 7 months and 10 years old dies from window cord strangulation. Strangulation deaths and injuries can occur anywhere in the house where a window covering with a cord is installed. Children can wrap window covering cords around their necks or can pull cords that are not clearly visible but are accessible and become entangled in the loops. These incidents happen quickly and silently. 

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In homes with residential elevators, a simple push of a button can swiftly turn to tragedy. Small children can be crushed to death in a deadly gap between the elevator door and the access door inside the home. If the gap is too deep between any exterior (i.e., hoistway) door and the farthest point of the inner door (which is often an accordion door) a child can become entrapped between the two doors; young children have been crushed to death in this gap, or have suffered multiple skull fractures, fractured vertebrae and traumatic asphyxia.  If you are visiting a home with an elevator, ask your host to lock all access doors to the elevator. 

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

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