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Question of the week: What do you do to keep children safe from household poisons?

2009 March 2

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Every 13 seconds, U.S. Poison Control Centers receive a call about someone being exposed to a poison. Forty percent of those cases involve a child under three years of age.  March is National Poison Prevention Month.

What do you do to keep children safe from household poisons?

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21 Responses leave one →
  1. Rebecca permalink
    March 2, 2009

    There are many different ways in which you can protect your children (and yourself) from dangerous household chemicals, as well as protect the environment, by making your own cleaning and pesticide products. Pesticides are especially harmful to people and children, and are in fact one of the leading causes of asthma in children. This website is a great resource for making your own cleaning products that can keep your children from being exposed to harmful chemicals.
    There are also many recipes for making pesticides that are less toxic for your family at:
    These products are not only better for your family and the environment but they can also help you save money. By creating your own cleaning products and pesticides you can do a great deal to minimize the risk of children being exposed to household hazardous materials.

  2. Will permalink
    March 2, 2009

    Use safty latches on your cabinets containing harmful chemicals. Store chemicals in high up out of reach of children. Be aware of where your children play.

  3. Dan permalink
    March 3, 2009

    I try to keep my children safe by minimizing the amount of toxics in the house. One key way is that we do NOT use compact fluorescent bulbs, which contain enough mercury to worry me. Although my incandescents use more energy, they keep one of the most toxic chemicals known to man out of my house. I will happily buy LED lights when they become robust, but I think EPA should slow down in urging adoption of CFLs with their mercury content.

  4. Nikki permalink
    March 4, 2009

    In addition to storing toxic products out of reach and behind drawers with safety latches, I am a big fan of Mr Yuk means NO stickers on products just in case they’re left out accidentally

  5. Steve Fortuna permalink
    March 4, 2009

    A big source of accidental poisons are the toxic cleaning products – everything from bleach and ammonia to lye-based cleaners and solvents that most homes find under their sink. Replacing them with enzyme based, water soluble solutions is a good way to minimize risk. I use a lot of baking soda, and for tough stains, Bio-Kleen products do a great job.

    I don’t use pesticides, except occasionally a little boric acid around baseboards. The sites listed above have some good suggestions, such as citronella and olive oil, that often cost less than the toxic alternative.

  6. Jimmy McCurry permalink
    March 4, 2009

    I have been preaching against small fluorescent bulbs for sometime. I am glad that someone else is worried about the effects of the mercury that they contain. Some day we will read how “mercury” has leached into groundwater from the unsafe disposal of these bulbs.

  7. Jimmy McCurry permalink
    March 4, 2009

    Education of both children and adults is essential to safely storing household products.

  8. mohammadreza parsamehr permalink
    March 5, 2009

    i bleive the best way is use of natural products and matterial for prevent of pests and training for the childrens is necessary.but me myself try to keep my son out of poisoned places in our home and usualy i train him about poisons.but we should accept for achive this goal it need to high attention by the every body becaus toxic matterial can be find enywhere by enything.for example most of toys specialy chinese products is polluted by toxic matterial.and it is realy dificult to recognize it by the public i think governments should have ironing will for prevent of produce of toxic products.

  9. Jon permalink
    March 5, 2009

    Don’t have children.

  10. Ana permalink
    March 5, 2009

    This is the most cowardly response possible. Even if you don’t have children, household poisons end up harming wildlife, pets and the environment in general. Avoiding the use of poisons in the first place is a much smarter alternative.

  11. Sharon permalink
    March 5, 2009

    All children are grown now. But, now grand-daughter is in the house so we put everything even the knives up in the cabinets along the ceiling of the kitchen. This gives us exercise each time we go for things. We take care of two things at one time safety and exercise. My husband is careful where and when he sprays the garden and lawn also.

  12. Jon permalink
    March 5, 2009

    I was trying to be funny! ;)
    Use Method Products (all natural products). Don’t use products with tetrasodium EDTA (EDTA is in such widespread use that it has emerged as a persistent organic pollutant). And place them in a child-proof cabinet.

  13. Jon permalink
    March 5, 2009

    the amount of mercury (Hg) within the CFLs is so minimal, that you’d have to break the bulb and lick your hand and then go to the hospital. You’re mostly likely breathing Hg all the time, but there’s no way to measure how much. Using CFLs lowers the amount of energy required to light up your home, and less burning of coal from the powerplant (coal is used in New England) and effecting less people in your region. If you were going to worry about something, worry about where all your trash goes; about why drinking bottled water is wastful and uses up precious resources and makes more trash; and promote composing. But there’s no need to worry. “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns…”

  14. Glenn permalink
    March 5, 2009

    There are lots of things we can do as individuals, but we can’t watch our children all the time or be aware of every exposure risk there is. Many products have hidden hazards (think plastics) and there are some hard to avoid exposures (think diesel exhausts) that we have little control over. I do all the usual stuff, like minimize toxics in the home and lock things up. But, I also lobby for stricter regulation of toxics, better disclosure in labeling, and bans where appropriate. We need adoption of a precautionary principle for new chemicals. That is, new chemicals should not be marketed unless proven safe. There is too much toxic stuff out there already, and I expect my government to help me minimize exposure not just in my own home, but when my child is at school or at a play date by requiring the least amount of toxics in products that is practicable.

  15. Edik Baghoumian/EDIX Inc. permalink
    March 5, 2009

    This is the best site ever and should be more websites such as this on different subject’s. The entire problems starts with our home and the Globe. How safe are we? Anything grows from the land is safe, anything manmade is disaster. Every house cleaning product is dangerous, “ALL OF THEM CONTAIN ACID” . ACID IS POISON. And usually if the product is cleaning better it means “IT HAS MORE ACID”. The washing poweder is “ACID” and guess where it ends-up, all go’s in the sewer system and to the “OCEAN”. Just consider the air freshner and all those stupid products in the capsules, from the time you buy the product is “danger” till the time you want to dump. Why even let this product’s be made, WE understand “IT IS BUSINESS” but if we destroy our nature by our own hand’s “IT MEANS WE ARE DIGGING OUR OWN GRAVE” for few stupid greedy people. Please stop buying, every person on this Globe is responsable for the Future to come and let’s do something and achive the desired environment to live and enjoy this “GREAT GIFT OF LIFE AND NATURE” Just remember, INTELLEGENT PEOPLE LIVE IN HEALTHY ENVIRNMENT.

  16. Camille Kustin permalink
    March 5, 2009

    The easiest way to not worry about this is to NOT BUY chemicals. It’s amazing how advertising has convinced us that we need this industrial-strength toxic stuff to keep our house clean. Aside from keeping children safe from these chemicals, it’s important to note that inhalation and any contact to these products are harmful to the user too.
    It’s amazing how far things like baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar, and just plain water can go to keep things clean and sanitary, especially if you clean semi-regularly.

  17. Marie says: permalink
    March 5, 2009

    All good things to do…but the best thing is to be aware of what children are around, and teach them that there are certain things that are better left alone. Most of all with very young children make them understand that everything they pickup or touch should not go in their mouth, or even be handled!! Children are by nature curious creatures and use the senses to the max… not having toxic items in the house is the best idea, along with using less toxic natural replacements;however ,if you use any “Household Chemicals” store them properly high and out of site, locked up, then use them up, and dispose of them properly. It is amazing to me that people think that once a container is so called “empty” the threat goes away in the trash or the sewer, or the ground. Also, be sure to remember mixing of spent household chemicals in trash can cause a number of problems as well, so follow manufacturer instructions on disposal…….inhalent problems can occur, some very toxic materials can be produced by certain do not forget this part of poison control as well. Be safe out there!!

  18. Vincent Chidi permalink
    March 6, 2009

    Though I am not in the state but I think this applies to every home in the world.
    I think every parent should learn a unique way of educating there children about poisonous substances, their health implications and entire life threat. Why I use the word “unique” is for the reason that some children have the tendency to always experiment every new thing they learn.
    Also it’s a good safety practice to always keep in isolation every household substance with a possible threat to health and indeed life. Teach the children to how to easily identify which and which is poisonous and has the poisoning potentials. Let them know that even the very food they eat today might turn out a poison tomorrow-mostly with the stored food and can food on reaching their expiring date.
    Let them learn the watch word “safety first”

  19. Sheila permalink
    March 7, 2009

    I see a lot of information on household poisoning but nothing that talks about poisoning coming from beauty products. Tooth paste for example, this is a highly toxic item for adults and children but it is not include in the list like household cleaners etc. We all know that most such products are harmful to us and the environment so information on this would be great. If there is a dumping facility or drop off / pick up for such products like there is for paint, I would like to know about it.

  20. arthur permalink
    March 10, 2009

    educate your children.

    safety latches on cabinets.

    Mr Yuk stickers.

  21. Becky permalink
    March 16, 2009

    I too am a big fan of eliminating all of the commercial toxic cleaning agents and using products that are safer to the family and to the environment. I got a lot of my great tips from Beth Greer’s latest book, “Super Natural Home.”

    In a world were we are over-exposed to thousands of dangerous toxic chemicals education is the key. This book provides a ton of information for anyone interested in reducing their exposure to dangerous chemicals.

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