baby chewing on toys
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10 things to keep out of baby’s mouth

Babies have a lot of charming qualities – sweet smiles, senses of adventure, and they don’t get bogged down in the past, to name a few – but it’s the way they’re willing to put literally anything (except the food you actually want them to try) in their mouths that proves that they’re still a few years short of being good guests at formal dinner parties. A few of the things Baby might try to put in their mouth are less of an etiquette issue than a safety issue, so make sure you keep a close eye on the following objects.

  1. Outlet-covers
    There’s a reason a lot of sources recommend getting switch-covers that cover the entire outlet-plate – the small outlet covers that just plugin can be a choking hazard all on their own if Baby gets curious enough about them to start prying them away.
  2. Things from their wardrobe
    Baby looks so cute in that sweater with the old-fashioned-looking buttons, but if they get a little rough with one of those buttons and pulls it free, that could be a problem.
  3. A not-so-lucky penny
    A swallowed coin generally earns Baby a quick trip to see their physician no matter what, because while most coins pass on their own, they can get lodged in their esophagus, and the only way to tell for sure is with an X-ray. And while pennies may be the smallest denomination, they can also cause the largest amount of trouble of any of the coins Baby can get their hands on, as pennies made after 1982 contain a significant amount of zinc, which can cause serious stomach problems.
  4. Pet food
    You can hardly blame Baby for being curious – especially when their favorite four-legged family member likes it so much, and it’s right there at their eye level. Pet food is generally pretty harmless, as far as things Baby can put in their mouth go, and after one taste, there’s a good chance Baby won’t be eager to have another. However, some babies actually do decide that the family dog’s favorite food is their favorite, too, so you can’t count on their eventual disinterest. Pet food is not held to the same food safety standards that human food is though, so there is a chance pet food could be harmful, and the larger pieces that some dog foods come in can pose a choking hazard. In addition, some dogs feel threatened when children move in on their food, which can create a dangerous situation.
  5. Pen cap
    It may be mightier than the sword, but a sword would probably pose less of a choking hazard. Of course, a sword would pose hazards of its own, too. It’s probably best to keep Baby away from both, at least for a few years.
  6. Battery
    If they’re swallowed, batteries can cause internal burns and damage, and children who swallow batteries should be given medical attention as soon as possible.
  7. Balloons
    One minute they’re whole, floating, and playful, and the next, they’re a major choking hazard. Latex balloons are considered dangerous to children interested in exploring with their mouths, and mylar balloons are recommended as an alternative.
  8. Plants
    That massive fern in your living room may look like it passes the ‘does it fit through a toilet paper tube?’ choking hazard test with ease, but that’s only true for the sum of the parts, before Baby decides to bite down and turn once-large leaves into bite-sized pieces. Additionally, some houseplants are inedible or poisonous if they’re ingested.
  9. Debris
    Letting Baby play in your own backyard may seem like the safest thing you can do – until you find out your neighbor has been flicking his cigarette butts over the fence. Trash finds its way into most aspects of modern life, but one place it really shouldn’t find its way into is Baby’s mouth.
  10. Plugged in USB and other cords
    Cords connected to power sources can cause serious injuries even if they’re not ingested – because of the fire and shock hazard if chewed on – so should be kept away from children. And most flexible cords like this are made of PVC plastic, which may contain lead. While it’s not clear if the amount of lead that could come off on your hands when handling these sort of cords is enough to pose a health risk, if you have a little one who also likes to put your fingers in their mouth, you may want to make sure to wash your own hands after handling these cords, just in case. 
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