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Household Cleaning Products Pose a Danger to Kids


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.


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