Life

How to Keep Your Children Safe from Household Chemicals and Medicines

One of the constant worries of parents is children’s natural inclination to explore things. Not only that, but babies also like putting things in their mouths. According to child development experts, babies do this because it’s their way of exploring the world around them. This is most common among younger babies who don’t have a strong sense of touch on their fingers yet.

This is why parents of young babies should be extra careful about the things that lie around the house. Since you can’t possibly stop children from putting things in their mouths, take care of the things you can control. As far as the whole house is concerned, even if your children are way past the putting-things-in-their-mouths stage, you can never be too careful.

Especially with chemicals lying around the house, it helps to be extra sure. Your children are not only at risk with cleaning products. There could be other potentially harmful things in the house such as lead paint or asbestos if your house is old. This is why regular upkeep is necessary.

Children

All for the sake of your family’s safety, you must have scheduled furnace maintenance, leak checks, and smoke tests among others. Here are safety tips to keep your children away from harmful chemicals around the house.

Cleaning products

Cleaning products contain chemicals that are toxic for the most vulnerable members of the family–young children, pets, and senior citizens. Strong chemicals even linger in the air after hours of use.

When the Covid-19 pandemic started, people understandably wanted to keep their homes free from viruses. Cleaning solutions, alcohol, and sanitizers were sold out. However, it was also around this time that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) saw a 20% increase in poisoning accidents related to home cleaning products. Children 1 to 5 years old were the common victims. And their exposure was mostly due to ingestion and inhalation.

With or without Covid, children are at risk of coming in contact with cleaning solutions on a daily. All-purpose cleaners contain chemicals called diethanolamine and triethanolamine. These two chemicals, when mixed with preservatives, form a reaction that results in a harmful carcinogenic compound that can penetrate the skin.

Another common compound used in cleaning solutions is ammonia. Ammonia can cause respiratory problems, especially among children and older people. Even you are at risk of inhaling harmful substances when cleaning. Ever felt dizzy after cleaning the bathroom? It’s because of chemicals like phosphoric acid, sodium peroxide, and sulfates.

Medicine

Aside from cleaning solutions, your medicine is best kept out of your children’s reach. There is a reason why the FDA requires you to dispose of certain medicines more carefully. You are supposed to flush empty fentanyl patches in the toilet.

Even among adults, accidental ingestion of a strong painkiller such as fentanyl is fatal. Overdose is the usual killer. Children could easily retrieve patches from waste bins and, again, like they usually do, put them in their mouths. In fact, this has happened many times already.

How to minimize the risks of poisoning accidents?

One way to reduce accidents is to keep the use of cleaning solutions at bay. If you can’t avoid these chemicals altogether, at least keep them in a cupboard that is high enough. And make sure that all cabinets are secured with latches and locks.

Request for child-resistant caps from pharmacies when you get your medicine. Immediately put the lid back on once you are done taking them. Regularly clean out your cupboards and check for expiration dates.

Never swap out containers of cleaning solutions. Recycling is a good initiative, but the lack of proper labels could lead to big accidents. If you are going to use smaller spray bottles, make sure there are labels.

At the same time, you might be transferring a strong chemical into a plastic container. Unless you have knowledge on what is corrosive or not with which materials, don’t risk it. Ensure that the cleaning bottles you have at home have readable labels. In times of uncertainty, don’t risk it.

Small wastebaskets are never a good idea when you have a crawling toddler at home. They think everything is a fun thing to explore. When you have visitors over, ask them to keep their bags and belongings in a place your child can’t reach.

Of course, nothing beats close supervision. However, you probably know by now that you can’t watch your children 24 hours every day. By doing these tips, you keep your children as far from accidents as possible and you get some peace of mind.

Jeremy D. Mena
Alcohol geek. Future teen idol. Web practitioner. Problem solver. Certified bacon guru. Spent 2002-2009 researching plush toys in Miami, FL. Won several awards for exporting tar in Libya. Uniquely-equipped for managing human growth hormone in Libya. Spent a weekend implementing fried chicken on the black market. Spoke at an international conference about working on carnival rides in Miami, FL. Developed several new methods for donating jack-in-the-boxes in Edison, NJ.