Needle found in toddler's heart during a check for chronic cough

Every parent should arm themselves with a childproofing checklist.

Every responsible parent needs to have a childproofing checklist to minimise the risks and possible dangers in the house. More often than not, we may shrug off household items as harmless. And while you might think, "Nah... my child wouldn't," it's never safe to be complacent. 

When parents of one-year-old ChenChen took her to Wuhan Children's Hospital on June 26, they never expected anything serious. To them, this was just a routine checkup for a chronic cough and fever.

ChenChen had been coughing and running a fever for weeks and her condition hadn't improved despite medication.

Unexpected Foreign Object 

childproofing checklist

According to Taiwan's China Times, two X-rays were taken and doctors were surprised to see a foreign object in the girl's chest cavity.

After much deliberation and a more thorough check, doctors narrowed down the location of the object to Chenchen's left heart ventricle. Both parents and doctors were shocked to find a 4.5cm-long needle wedged in their child's heart!

Fearing further possible complications, ChenChen went through an emergency operation that very night. The needle measuring 2mm in diameter was extracted successfully from her tiny body. The needle looked rusty, giving the indication that it might have been in the toddler's body for quite some time.

ChenChen's mother later told the hospital's cardiovascular surgeon, Dr Pi Mingan, that the object looked like a needle that she regularly uses. Unsure of how the needle ended up in her daughter's body, ChenChen's mum is grateful that her daughter is safe now.

Childproofing Checklist

childproofing checklist

Why should every parent have a childproofing checklist? So that they can minimise the risk of accidents happening at home. 

A childproofing checklist ensures that parents go through everything in their homes that could be potentially harmful.

These things could be either stored away safely, or safety features could be added to these objects to ensure child safety. Did you know ingesting foreign objects ranks as the sixth most commonly consumed things by children less than six years of age? These accidents are totally avoidable.

Let's all be honest. We all can't grow eyes on the back of our heads. And I'm sure all parents know: Sometimes even a childproofing checklist won't be able to stop your curious and resourceful child. But at least if parents arm themselves with such a list, childproofing their homes will definitely be much quicker and thorough.

In the Bedroom

  1. Check the crib and make sure it is not placed near windows that have curtains or blinds with cords.
  2. Does your window have grilles?
  3. Make sure all drawers are securely attached to the wall.

In the Bathroom

  1. Install safety latches and locks. Store toiletries, medication and creams in cabinets and drawers.
  2. Always check that water is at the right temperature before bathing your kids.
  3. Use a non-slip mat.

In the Kitchen

  1. Lock stove knobs.
  2. Install safety latches and locks on all drawers and cabinets within their reach. Secure the drawers containing knives, scissors, and sharp utensils. Don't forget to lock your household detergents and chemicals as well.

Throughout the House

  1. Keep curtain and blind cords out of reach to stop children from getting entangled or strangled in them.
  2. Place safety covers on all power outlets that are within reach. Make sure they are attached properly so that they cannot be pulled out easily.
  3. Put up safety gates in front of any stairs in the house.
  4. Install corner and edge bumpers on all sharp edges.
  5. Standalone drawers and shelves should be securely attached to the wall.
  6. Use doorstoppers and door holders so that little fingers do not get crushed by closing doors.
  7. Pack away small toys when you have younger children visiting.
  8. Store all sharp things in a locked drawer.

Outdoors

  1. Make a kid-free zone or make a kids-only zone by using a playpen.
     

Childproofing is a very important thing to do as your child grows bigger and begins exerting his own independence.

There will be times when you won't be able to keep your eyes on your child for every second of the day. But by following a childproofing checklist, parents can ensure that your home will be a safe place for tots to learn and explore.

 

Sources: Straits Times, Kids Health, Medicinenet

Read also: Emergency first aid for common household injuries: Important info for parents