(NC) Young children are curious and like to put things in their mouths, so a bad taste or smell may not be enough to keep them away. The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario reports that in Canada, seven children under the age of 14 die each year due to poisoning and thousands more end up emergency rooms.
With those figures in mind, did you know that household chemical products are among the top products responsible for injuries and deaths in children? Even small amounts of a hazardous substance or someone else's medication can be dangerous to a child.
By understanding what the risks are and learning about preventative actions, parents, families and caregivers can keep children safer.
What to do
Use household chemicals safely. Chemicals such as cleaning liquids and powders, polishes, drain cleaners, paint thinners and windshield washer fluids should be used carefully, locked away and disposed of as recommended. Learn the meaning of product warning symbols and carefully follow all directions on the label.
Take off your shoes when you come inside. Footwear attracts all kinds of bacteria and other substances that you wouldn't want tracked across your floor, especially around crawling babies or fall-prone toddlers.
Ventilate your home. Fresh air is a must inside your home. Open your windows when using chemicals such as paints and varnishes. Use an exhaust fan above your stove to send fumes outdoors while cooking.
Wash your hands often. Lather up with soap and water for at least 15 seconds – about as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday. This helps to remove harmful substances you or your child may have touched.
Look for low-emission paints, glue and woodworking materials to use for home projects.
Canada has a world-leading Chemicals Management Plan aimed at reducing the risks that chemical substances pose to Canadians and their environment. The plan includes helping Canadian families find out more about the potential risks and safe use of chemicals at home.
More information and tips are available at no cost through Health Canada's Hazardcheck guide. Read or order copies online at HealthyCanadians.gc.ca/Hazardcheck or call 1-800-O-Canada