If my toddler puts a cellphone in her mouth, can she get an electrical shock?
A: It's not unusual to see a toddler interacting with a cellphone; many parents often engage toddlers and infants with a colorful mobile app or video on their phone as a distraction.
While offering up a little screen time can be handy, take precautions. Mobile phones are generally low voltage, but a child who accidentally chews on the attached electrical cord or charger can be seriously hurt. Other hazards when a child puts the phone in their mouth include:
Germs. Cellphones are covered with them. In fact, they are among the most germ-infested items in a household.
Older phones. Phones built just three or four years ago may have buttons or switches that can break off and become a choking hazard. These phones also may include small parts like microchips or batteries that can become loose and pose a serious danger if ingested. Older flip phones or units with a sliding keyboard can pinch a tongue or lip.
Glass. Many of today's cellphones are made with glass faces. Some parents use phones that have been damaged but are still functioning. A phone with a cracked glass face or broken casing can scratch or cut a child's mouth if they chew on the phone.
Protective cases. While they are designed to protect your device, they usually are not designed to protect your child. Cases with decorative jewels or rhinestones can scratch a child's skin or come loose and pose a choking hazard.
Bottom line? Apps may be designed with kids in mind, but mobile phones are not. It can be tempting to let your savvy 3-year-old sit down with a mobile device to play with an educational app while you throw in a load of laundry, but an unsupervised child can be seriously injured.
Sharon Cindrich is a mother of two tech-savvy kids from Virginia Beach. Learn more at sharoncindrich.com.
See more of Sharon's stories here.