Counter safety: Is it really out of your kids’ reach?

Putting your steaming latte or curling iron on a countertop isn’t enough to protect grabby little hands. Children as young as 12 months could reach onto a standard 36-inch countertop, according to a Children’s Hospital of Michigan study.

Many of the children who were asked to reach for a toy phone could reach as far as eight inches onto the countertop, “much farther than anticipated,” says the study’s lead author, Davis Allasio. To keep kids safe from burns, the researchers suggest parents place hot and dangerous liquids and objects at the very back of the countertop.

And make sure you leave medicine off countertops entirely. Children under age 6 accounted for 68.9 percent of the 100,340 drug-related emergency room visits in 2008, the latest figures from the U.S. government’s Drug Abuse Warning Network.

While the majority of children were treated in the ER and released, nearly 9 percent of these children were admitted to the hospital, of which 20 percent were sent to critical care. Pain killers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, topped the list of drugs these children ingested at 21 percent.

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