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Avoiding health hazards when moving house with your curious crawler or toddler

Monday 20 November 2017

A little girl sits in a moving box, peering out over the top cheekily.
Moving house is stressful enough without having to deal with a medical emergency. Follow these tips to help keep your kids safe while you move.

They say moving house can be one of the most stressful times in life, up there with losing your job or getting divorced. Moving house with young kids in tow? Just the thought can be enough to make you need a lie down.

As well as making sure everything’s packed on time, organising the movers and deciding where you’ll put all your furniture at the new place, it’s important to keep safety in mind during your move. We’ve put together some tips to help you make sure your kids stay safe and well while you move.

Pack away poisonous products safely and unpack them straight away

Poisons around the house can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. From cleaning products to medicines, fertilisers, pesticides, batteries and cosmetics, there are lots of potential poisons in the modern day home.

Normally, you’ll (hopefully) keep these safely locked away in a high cupboard, out of sight and reach of children. But come moving time, you’ll need to pack and unpack these items, along with every single other thing you own (deep breaths, you can do this!).

Pack potential poisons away in boxes or storage that can’t be accessed by children, making sure to finish the job properly and not leave any products out waiting to be packed. When you get to your new place, make it a priority to unpack these items, putting them away safely as soon as you can.

A young girl empties a blister pack of medicines onto a pile of tablets she has created.

Keep an eye on choking hazards

We all know there’s nothing a toddler won’t try to chew. Moving can increase the number of little fiddly things lying around the house, as you pull apart furniture, empty drawers and use packing materials to keep everything safe.

If possible, try to keep kids out of the room that you’re packing in, and pack each area or section fully, then seal up the boxes, before moving on.

Be careful to not leave scissors, box cutters or sharp tape dispensers lying around for little fingers to grab onto.

A little girls sits on her parent's lap on the couch playing with a moving box and bubble wrap.

Watch out for disturbed creepy crawlies

Spiders, ants, bugs and snakes like to spend their time in dark, quiet places around houses and yards. Moving house can mean uprooting these creepy crawlies as well, and they don’t always like the idea of relocating.

Lots of our famed “dangerous Aussie creatures” won’t hurt humans unless they feel threatened. When moving, teach kids to be mindful when shifting indoor and outdoor furniture, moving items that sit up against walls or digging into those piles of junk we’ve all got hidden around our houses that we said we’d clean up ‘someday’ and then shoved into a cupboard. The “don’t put your hand where you can’t see” rule is a good one to follow when moving.

If anyone gets bitten or stung, you can call the Poisons Information Line (13 11 26) for advice, 24 hours a day from anywhere in Australia. Call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance if someone is showing signs of being seriously unwell, like vomiting, passing out, drowsiness or seizures, or if you think it’s an emergency.

Explore your new home

Finally arriving at your new home is both exciting and daunting. Before you get stuck into unpacking, take a few minutes to scope out any potential hazards at your new place.

Check out what plants are in the yard, keeping an eye out for mushrooms, flowers, fruits or berries kids might be tempted to eat. Your local nursery or the Queensland Herbarium can help you identify any plants you’re not sure of.

Make sure the people there before you haven’t left any cleaning or garden supplies lying around, kept out any pest poison or baits, and check cupboards for items they haven’t taken with them. Keep in mind that all the activity might have disturbed insects, spiders and animals that live in or around the house.

A mum and dad sit on the couch in their new house, surrounded by moving boxes. The dad lifts his baby son up in the air.

Last updated: 10 June 2022