TIPS FOR SAFE STORAGE OF POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS PRODUCTS IN THE HOME
Some drugs and chemicals commonly found around the home can cause serious illness, or even death for a child. Most accidental child poisonings are of kids under five; 3,500 are admitted to hospital every year. While most don’t suffer long term, they can be seriously injured and 5 to 10 will die. Yet child poisoning can be easily prevented in just a few minutes, and for almost no cost.
Child poisonings are most commonly caused by medicines (71%) and household chemicals (28%); especially those stored unsafely or those in use and ‘left out’ in easy reach. Poisonings can happen quickly if adults aren’t watching or are out of the room for just a few minutes. Toddlers aged 1 to 2 are most at risk, as they tend to put everything they find in their mouths. Accidents are even more likely if there’s a lot of activity around the house. You may be moving or have visitors.
When you take medicine, don’t leave the packet or bottle out on the table – child-resistant packaging isn’t totally childproof. Don’t leave tablets in your handbag either, and remember visitors may be carrying medicine, so keep their bags out of reach.
If you’re using a household cleaner, keep the bottle out of reach with the lid on, and don’t leave children alone with the product. Be aware of what’s toxic – even tiny batteries are poisonous.
Don’t rely on child-resistant catches on cupboards; it’s safest to remove potential poisons all together and store them out of sight and out of reach. Even if a child has never shown any interest in the detergents under the sink or the medication on the bedside table, there is a first time for everything!