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Household Cleaning Products Pose a Danger to Kids

8/2/2010  

National rates of injuries to children from household cleaning products have dropped significantly, but the number of injuries remains high, according to a study in the September 2010 print issue of Pediatrics.

The study, “Household Cleaning Product-Related Injuries Treated in US Emergency Departments in 1990-2006,” published online August 2, examined cases in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database of children treated for injuries related to a variety of cleaning products, including drain cleaners, ammonia, dishwasher detergents, swimming pool chemicals, laundry soap, bleach, toilet bowl products, abrasive cleaners, room deodorizers and general-purpose cleaners. An estimated 267,269 children ages 5 years and younger were treated. The number of injuries decreased 46 percent, from 22,141 injuries in 1990 to 11,964 injuries in 2006. Bleach was the No. 1 product associated with injuries. Children aged 1 to 3 years, who are naturally curious and like to put things in their mouths, accounted for 72 percent of injuries. Products were typically ingested, most commonly from a spray bottle.

Previous research and recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest storing poisonous substances in locked cabinets, out of sight and reach of children, buying products with child-resistant packaging, keeping products in their original containers, and properly disposing of leftover or unused products.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.