When relocating to a new home, one of the most important tasks is to make sure it’s ready for babies, toddlers or pets. That usually means taking a variety of safety precautions – and making sure that there are no poisonous substances within reach. For Poison Prevention Awareness Month, we wanted to dive a little deeper into that last part. Here are key steps that everyone should keep in mind for baby- and pet-proofing a new home when moving to Bend.
1. Check Your Houseplants
Do you know if your houseplants are poisonous to kids or animals? If you don’t, look them up! This is especially important for pet-friendly rentals in Bend, which should always be vetted for toxic plants and other substances. A variety of common houseplants may be more dangerous than you think or have additional effects. For example, a common spider fern is a mild hallucinogen for cats, but it is rarely considered dangerous. The beautiful lucky bamboo, however, is a dangerous toxin that should never be within reach.
Keep in mind that pets can often jump to places that toddlers can’t reach, so when it comes to houseplants it’s important to be extra careful. If you aren’t sure how safe a plant is, always do your research before introducing it to your home!
2. Be Careful with Walks and Playtime
Bend is a very pet-friendly city, but there are plants grown in gardens and sometimes even found in parks that your pet needs to avoid. Toxic plants include tulip and daffodil bulbs (which dogs will sometimes try to dig out and chew on), lilies (especially bad for cats), cow parsnips, rhubarb, yew, foxglove, and rhododendron. This Oregon Veterinary directory is an excellent guide to review for potential dangers. It’s generally a good idea to simply prevent your pet from eating anything when out for walks or play.
If you plan on growing some of these plants yourself, make sure they are fenced off so that pets cannot gain access to them (or, alternatively, create a fenced-in area for your pet to play in).
3. Don’t Leave Food Out
Remember, many of the foods that humans eat are not all right for pets to eat. If your pet has a problem jumping on counters or investigating areas for food, be extra-cautious in always cleaning up and putting food away (this is also important for avoiding pest problems). As this handy guide shows, there are a lot of things that pets cannot eat without grave risk to their lives, including chocolate, grapes, xylitol found in breath mints, macadamia nuts, and chocolate. Even common ingredients like garlic, onions, and other alliums are toxic to pets and can build up in their systems over time, so no leftovers for our furry friends. Also, refrain from leaving medications out on the table – many pills are dangerous for pets but also attractive playthings, which can be a deadly combination.
On a similar note, always practice leaving the toilet seat down. Toilet water can be a magnet for some pets, but toilet cleaners and bleach are toxic substances.
4. Keep Medications Out of Reach
As a general guideline, keep medications, supplements, and vitamins of all kinds out of the reach of toddlers. Little children love to imitate adults and do not understand that certain medications can be dangerous. Even things you may not consider eating yourself, like cosmetics or baby oil, may be the next thing a toddler tries to put in its mouth. While baby-proofing cabinets is a good idea, a simpler and more immediate solution is just to keep everything out of reach on a bathroom counter or shoulder-high cabinet.
5. Lock Away Other Dangerous Substances
All cleaning materials, fuels, paint thinners, vehicle fluids and pesticides are dangerous to ingest. Keep these in laundry room and garage cabinets that children or pets cannot access. If this isn’t possible, make sure they are placed in a cabinet or drawer that can be locked. If you spill something like antifreeze by accident, immediately clean it up before it can be noticed by curious pets or children. If you are moving into rentals in Bend, always make time to check where these chemicals are stored and do a little relocation of your own if necessary.
The video below, produced by the Oregon Poison Center, is a great resource to watch with your kids to help them better understand about household poisons.