Did you know some everyday household products can cause permanent damage or death if ingested by children?
According to a report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, 80,000 calls are made to Poisons Information Centres in Australia each year, with about half of these relating to children.
Alarmingly, the most common causes of poisoning among children are from products that most people have lying around the home, such as all-purpose and hard-surface cleaners, detergents, bleach and toilet bowl products. Medicines were also found to be a common source of poisons.
Infants and toddlers are at highest risk, often because of their proximity to ground-level substances such as toilet bowl cleaners, and items such as hand sanitisers, desiccants, pens and cigarettes – all products a toddler might easily put in their mouth.
As children head into their school years, they are still at risk from glow sticks, all purpose cleaners, freezer packs and domestic insecticides.
While the most serious symptoms come from ingesting poisons, general contact or inhaling can also cause allergic reactions such as asthma and eczema, along with headaches, light headedness, sneezing & watering eyes.
So how do we keep our children safe? It is not realistic to eliminate all cleaners and potentially harmful substances from our home. But there is much we can do to greatly reduce the risk of accidental poisoning.
Top 5 Tips to minimise risk of poisoning in the home
- Minimise the number of toxic substances in the home. Consider switching to laundry, cleaning and beauty products that do not contain harsh chemicals, and that are safer for children if accidentally ingested – such as the Tri nature range.
- Prevent children from accessing potential poisons. Install child-proof locks on cupboards and wherever possible, store hazardous products out of reach in a high place. This should include cleaning products, medications and alcohol. Remember to lock up substances kept outside, such as pool chemicals, car oil or fertilisers.
- Don’t forget about safety when on holidays. Poisonings often occur in holiday houses or when visiting friends who may not have young children. Upon arrival, check the house to ensure medicines and household chemicals are stored safely out of reach.
- When handling babies, don’t forget that products used on your skin, such as hand sanitiser, can affect them. Ensure hands are washed clean of potentially harmful products.
- Store batteries out of reach and dispose of immediately once used. Be particularly careful of disc or button batteries (often found in children’s toys), as they are small, easy to swallow and highly damaging.
By Vicki Williams
Vicki has been a consultant for Tri Nature for over 28 years and is passionate about helping people discover the joys of Tri Nature – from child and eco safety to an uplifting cleaning experience like no other. She is also passionate about re-education and sharing the message that Tri Nature’s Chemist, Brian McLean brings regarding Gentle Chemistry and Marketing Myth-information.
SafeClean&Crafty. Visit www.safecleancrafty.com.au
Check out our interview on poisons HERE.