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Poison Prevention Tips to Protect the Most Vulnerable

Wise use, and storage, of cleaning supplies, chemicals can shield children from harm

SATURDAY, March 22, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- To mark National Poison Prevention Week, which concludes Saturday, the Soap and Detergent Association offers a home safety checklist for parents with young children.

Parents and caregivers should:

  • Install child-safety locks on cabinets that house cleaning supplies, medicines, cosmetics, chemicals and other poisons. Never assume a cabinet is too high for a child.
  • Keep all household products in their original packaging, which includes useful first-aid information in the event of accidental exposure or ingestion. If you purchase household products in bulk, buy a smaller size of the same product and use this container for refills.
  • Use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container securely after each use. Keep in mind that this type of packaging is child-resistant, but not child-proof, and products must still be stored out of reach of children.
  • Read and follow the directions on the product label. Pay particular attention to labels that include the words "Caution," "Warning," "Danger," or "Poison."
  • When using cleaning products, take out only what's needed for the job at hand. Store the rest in a secure location.
  • Don't mix household cleaning products. Doing so could release harmful vapors or cause other dangerous chemical reactions.
  • Don't leave cleaning buckets unattended. If a child falls into the bucket, it may not tip over and the child could drown. If the bucket is tipped, the contents could spill and come into contact with a child's sensitive skin. Immediately clean up any spills and quickly and safely dispose of rags, paper towels and related items that you used to clean up a spill.
  • Schedule house cleaning when children are having a nap, on a play date, or at school.
  • If children are present while you're cleaning, avoid any distractions. If you need to answer the door, take the child with you. If the phone rings, let the answering machine get it.
  • Know where to call for help. Post the Poison Control Center phone number (1-800-222-1222), along with other emergency numbers, by every land phone in your home, and enter the numbers into your cell phone's address book.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers more tips to prevent poisonings.

SOURCE: Soap and Detergent Association, news release, March 12, 2008
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