According to the National Capital Poison Center, household cleaning supplies—including kitchen cleaners and liquid laundry packets—are the second most common exposure to poison among children under 6 years of age. And since the COVID-19 outbreak, cleaning has been on the rise. A recent poll from the American Cleaning Institute found that 53% of people reported using cleaning products more frequently.
Properly storing these products can help keep accidental exposures from happening and make your house a safer place.
Path to improved safety
When it comes to using and storing these products safely, consider the following tips:
- Store products in their original containers. Recent trends on social media of storing things in glass or plastic containers may look nice, but these containers could provide easier access for children, and might be confusing. In addition, changing containers also removes important information that’s featured on the original label.
- Never remove product labels. In addition to proper usage, product labels also include information about precautions, ingredients and first aid in case of emergency.
- Read and follow the directions on the labels. The directions are there to ensure that the product is used properly.
- Lock products up. When they are not in use, cleaning products should be stored up and out of sight and reach, away from children, pets, and food.
- Close container caps securely. Many products come with child-deterrent packaging. If these are not closed properly, it could present a tempting target for your child.
- Don’t mix products. This could release harmful gases into the air.
- Schedule cleaning with kids in mind. Choose times when they might not be around or might be napping.
- Conduct routine safety checks in your home. This can reduce the likelihood of accidents.
In addition to following these steps, make sure you dispose of empty cleaning containers safely. Replace the caps first, then place the container in a sealed recycling bin or garbage container.
Things to consider
Liquid laundry packets have become increasingly popular in recent years. Like with all cleaning products, they must be stored properly to help prevent accidents at home, which can happen quickly with young children around.
In a survey from the American Cleaning Institute, 71% of Americans who say they’ve used liquid laundry packets didn’t keep the products within sight or reach of children. But 19% say they have, several times.
While overall exposure to liquid laundry packets among young children has decreased, there are still some precautions parents should take:
- Store liquid laundry packets up high and out of reach and sight of children.
- Completely close and seal the containers after each use.
- Always store the packets in their original containers with the safety label intact.
- Never display liquid laundry packets in decorative bowls or glass jars for home décor purposes.
Parents should also keep the number for the Poison Help Line (1-800-222-1222) somewhere easily visible or accessible in their homes. You should call this number immediately if any cleaning product is ingested.
Questions to ask your doctor
- What are some of the more common chemicals children tend to get into?
- What health problems can accidental exposures cause in children?
- What should I do if I’m not sure whether my child has ingested one of these chemicals?
The development of this content was in collaboration with the American Cleaning Institute™.
Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians
This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.