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Household Chemicals & Children: What You Need to Know
Children have a way of getting into places and items that you would never have thought they could, which is why it is important that you are especially prudent when storing household chemicals, drugs and other toxic substances. What may seem harmless to you could prove to be extremely harmful in the hands of a child, so take inventory of what is in your home and how you can best store it out of the way of wandering eyes and hands.
Dangerous Chemicals that should be kept Away from Children
We often take for granted many of the chemicals that we use on a day to day basis because we know as adults how to use them safely. However, some of these materials can be dangerous when ingested or coming in contact with the hands, face or eyes. It is important to store the following out of the reach of children.
- Antifreeze— it only takes a very small amount of antifreeze to poison a child or animal and its sweet aroma and taste attracts their curiosity.
- Motor oil, windshield wiper fluid and other automotive fluids— children often get a hold of these chemicals because they are stored on the ground or in their reach.
- Laundry or dishwashing detergent— some of these products are now packaged in a way that very young children may mistake them for candies and become deathly ill following consumption.
- Household cleaning supplies— it goes without saying that bleach, bathroom cleaners, kitchen cleaners and other cleaning products are dangerous. They can be a problem if ingested, but also if they come in contact with the skin or eyes.
- Pesticides or insect traps— any type of product that is specifically designated to poison insects or other pests should be kept away from children.
- Drain cleaners— most drain cleaners consist of very strong acids that can cause chemical burns if they come in contact with the skin. Children coming in contact with these products may experience a number of injuries to the skin.
- Battery acid— you should never leave batteries laying around because the acid inside of them is extremely corrosive. Small children may attempt to place the batteries in their mouths as well, where they present a choking hazard.
- Beauty products— materials such as nail polish remover, perfume and certain hair products can also be hazardous to small children.
- Prescription medications— you should never store your prescription medications out in the open where a child can access them. As your children grow older, it is important to be wary of prescription medicine abuse, which often occurs when children steal their parents’ medications.
How to Safeguard Your Home
As a general rule, you should designate a single cabinet in a high location for all of your household cleaners and lock the cabinet with a child-safe lock. Don’t let your children see how you open the lock or they may learn how to open the door through observation. Keep chemicals in the garage stored high as well and keep your beauty products stored in bathroom cabinets so that children are not tempted to open them.
In the event that your child does come in contact with household chemicals, it is important to read the label of the product to determine the most appropriate course of action. The National Poison Control center number is 1-800-222-1222 and should be posted somewhere that you and others can see it. If the product has come in contact with your child’s eyes, rinse them with water for twenty minutes. Do not induce vomiting if your child has ingested a substance unless told to do so by poison control.
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