ROSPA has revealed that every year, thousands of infants need medical care for poisoning from products commonly found in and around the home. Whilst long-term injury is rare, the anxiety and distress caused to both child and parents could be avoided by increased awareness.

Most accidental poisoning happens to children younger than five years old, with children aged one to three years being most at risk. On average 15 under fives are admitted to hospital each day due to suspected poisoning. Children from the poorest families are three times more likely to be admitted to hospital due to an accident, including accidental poisoning.

Why young children are more likely to be poisoned?

Exploring is part of growing up but young children have little concept of potential dangers

They are inquisitive and will often put things in their mouth to further explore their texture and taste. Part of growing up is to watch and copy what others do, unfortunately, this includes copying using potentially dangerous things like household products and medication

Small children may mistake liquid capsule style dishwasher and washing machine detergents for toys or sweets. These are not only a danger in relation to ingestion but can also cause serious irritation to the eyes which can result in long-term damage.

How can accidents with household cleaning products be prevented?

Closely supervise children in and around the home. Keep household chemicals out of sight and reach of children, preferably in a locked cupboard. Remember this also applies to the garage and shed.

Always store household cleaning chemicals in their original containers. Replace lids and put all products away immediately after use. Dispose of unwanted household cleaning products safely. Store household cleaning products in a different place from food and medicine.

Use household cleaning products according to label directions, and remember that mixing household products can cause dangerous gases to form.

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