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Tips To Keep Kids Safe From Common Household Poisons During Spring Cleaning

Armen Hareyan's picture

For many families, springtime in Pittsburgh means putting away the scarves and shovels and beginning the annual ritual of spring cleaning. To prevent an accidental poisoning, experts at the Pittsburgh Poison Center (PPC) at Children's Hospital and UPMC remind parents to keep cleaning products in their original containers and away from curious little children.

More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the 61 Poison Control Centers across the country. The majority of non-fatal poisonings occur in children younger than 6 years old. Most household poisonings occur in the home and involve common household items such as medicines, cleaning supplies, cosmetics and personal care items, says Edward P. Krenzelok, PharmD, director of the PPC.

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"Parents need to remember to keep cleaning products closed and never to leave a product unattended out in the open, not even for a second," Dr. Krenzelok said. "Many cleaning products are packaged to be bright and colorful, and they can quickly attract a child's attention. Poisonings can happen in the blink of an eye, but by keeping containers closed and removing them from the reach of children as soon as you are finished, an accident can be prevented."

To avoid problems, children should never be left unsupervised around cleaning supplies. While cleaning, read labels carefully, follow all safety precautions and never mix cleaning solutions as the products can react and create poisonous fumes. Children should be kept away from the area being cleaned to avoid any exposure to fumes. Precautions should be taken during spring cleaning and year-round to ensure that all children are safe from potential poisons.

In 1971, the PPC created Mr. Yuk, which has become the national beacon for poison prevention and has proven to be a success deterrent for curious young children across the country and world. Every Mr. Yuk sticker contains the name of the nearest poison center and the national toll-free poison help telephone number