Keep the kids safe while spring cleaning

Consumer Reports News: March 26, 2010 04:26 PM

If spring cleaning is on your agenda, keep your child's safety in mind with these handy tips.

Poisons come in solid, liquid, or sprayable forms, and some are even invisible. Teach your child that poisons come in all shapes and sizes, and even in bright and appealing colors, like fruit-tinted cleaning products. A poison can taste, smell, or look good—for example, mouthwash or perfume. Invisible poisons can be found in something burning, such as fumes from your vehicle exhaust.

Poisons don’t have to be ingested to be dangerous. Many household cleaners are dangerous if ingested, inhaled, or splashed. If poison is splashed, rinse the area with water for 15 minutes. And no matter what type of contact your child has had with one of those substances, call the poison center immediately.

Don’t breathe vapors. Never sniff containers to determine what’s inside. This could lead to poisoning from inhaling. Before you start using household and chemical products, turn on fans and open window to ventilate the room to avoid inhaling dangerous chemicals. If your child breathes in poisonous vapors, get him fresh air and call the poison center.

Every household product should be in its original container with the label intact. In the event of a poisoning, you will need to give the poison-control center vital information listed on the container and on the label.

Proper storage is key to prevent poisoning. Store household products and medicines in locked cabinets that your child can’t reach. Do not store them over stoves or ovens. Keep medicines in child-resistant containers.

Don’t give syrup of Ipecac for poisoning. If your child ingests a poisonous substance or one you suspect is poisonous, do not give him syrup of Ipecac or anything that will make him throw up the poison. Call the poison control center first. The substance he ingested might do more harm coming back up than it did going down.

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