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Household Cleaners, Medicines Can Poison Children

03/17/2015
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Don’t Store Chemicals in Cabinets

Poisoning causes 51 deaths every year in children ages 12 and younger and more than 47,000 trips to the emergency room, making it a leading home hazard that is entirely preventable.

Still, a majority of parents admit to keeping cleaners, medicines and other poisons in unlocked, unsecured cabinets at ground level. Whether in the bathroom, garage or kitchen, those bottles, jugs and packages left accessible to youths invite danger into the home.

“Cleaning products can contain chemicals that, when used improperly or accidentally swallowed by a child, can cause irritation, stomach upset and even serious burns,” says a February 2015 analysis titled “Report to the Nation: Protecting Children in Your Home.” “Yet 68 percent of parents surveyed say they store cleaning products in a cabinet below the counter or sink in the bathroom or kitchen.”

The report further states that 59 percent of the 68 percent say the cabinets are not locked. Child-safety locks are imperative in the prevention of accidental ingestion of dish soap, floor wax and toilet-bowl cleaner, and they should be commonplace – and common-sense – in a family household. Consider this: Poison-control centers received more than 1 million inquiries about boys and girls ages 5 and younger who swallowed potential poisons.

The report, issued by Safe Kids Worldwide, says nine percent of parents surveyed store medication on their bedroom nightstand, while seven percent leave them on bathroom counter.

“It’s important that families remember to put all medicines – even ones for parents, older children and grandparents – up and away and out of sight of young children,” according to the report.

Concentrated packets for the dishwasher and washing machine can be more dangerous than their traditional counterparts in children who are exposed to them. Reported side effects include coma, pneumonia, seizures and shortness of breath.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers has a Web site full of tips on how to make your home poison-proof. Its Poison Help hotline is 800-222-1222.

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