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Keep Cleaning Products Away From Children

National Poison Prevention Week is March 19-25


Lisa Barry, MD, Aspirus Pediatrician

It's almost spring and spring cleaning is just around the corner – a time for people to deep clean their houses after the cold winter months.


A clean home provides a healthy environment for the family, but common household cleaning products such as alcohol, acid, alkali, bleach, polish, and detergent can contain hazardous chemicals that are poisonous, especially to children.


“It’s crucial for parents to be aware of potential poisons that can be found in many cleaning supplies,” says Lisa Barry, MD, Aspirus Pediatrician. “The best way to keep your child safe from accidental poisoning is through prevention.”


If you have a child at your house (even just for a visit), poison-proofing is a must.


Here are some safety tips to remember when handling cleaning products around children.

  • Always read the directions for use on cleaning product labels
  • Never mix household cleaning products. Doing so can result in poisonous fumes and serious breathing problems.
  • Ventilate your work area well, especially small spaces such as bathrooms, by opening a window or door and running an exhaust fan.
  • Keep strong acids and alkalis directed away from your eyes and skin.
  • Wear rubber gloves, safety goggles, and protective clothing when using very strong cleaners.
  • Do not leave aerosol (pressurized spray) containers on a stove, radiator or furnace, in direct sunlight, or near other heat sources due to toxic fumes and fire hazards.
  • Store cleaning products in cabinets with child-resistant latches. One of the most dangerous places to store cleaners is in an unlocked, low, kitchen or bathroom cabinet.
  • If possible, keep children and pets out of areas where household cleaners are being used.


“It takes very little time for a child to get their hands on things they shouldn’t. Be very cautious of where cleaning supplies are placed while cleaning and always remember to return it to a designed area where children will not be able to access it. All chemicals and cleaning products should always be out of reach of children,” says Dr. Barry. “Certain cleaning supplies such as dishwasher or laundry detergent pods can look like candy to kids and are very dangerous if ingested.”


Keep cleaning products in their original containers and choose child-resistant packaging when available. Lock them in elevated cabinets and far away from any food storage locations to reduce the chance of a child accidentally ingesting those items.


Many cleaning products and chemicals have instructions on what to do if the product is used incorrectly.


If you suspect your child has been poisoned and is unconscious, having convulsions or not breathing, call 911. If your child has mild or no symptoms, call the National Poison Control Hotline at 1-800-222-1222.


To learn more about Dr. Lisa Barry or to schedule an appointment, visit



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