Poisoning – Chemicals under the Kitchen Sink

The kitchen is often termed as the most glorious part of the house, after all it is where all the food is found! However, apart from the cover of a clean room with all the goods you can fathom, it is also termed as one of the most dangerous areas of the house, especially if you have children that constantly need supervision. Stoves and ovens already hold a risk but the most danger is caused by the house cleaning products that are usually stored here.

What’s So Wrong about Detergents?
Well, nothing is wrong with detergents except for the fact that it is the cause of majority of the household accidents that occur with children. Detergents contain toxic chemicals that could be ingested or inhaled by children resulting in the need of immediate medical attention. Some of these products also contain acids that cause severe burns when not handled with caution and children, with their constant curious nature, fall victims to these accidental burns.
Not only that, detergents that are usually stored in a closed container for a long time tend to give off dangerous fumes known as Volatile Organic Compounds or VOC’s. At their growing age, children are more prone to have respiratory problems caused by these fumes or by the smell of chemicals such as ammonia. These two can have adverse effects on your child ranging from irritation in the throat, eyes etc. to nausea or burns.

Is it really this Serious?
There have been many reported cases of not only children but also adults who have wrongfully ingested chemicals. Recently, a 20-month-old baby had managed to swallow a laundry detergent only to throw up a little while later. After giving him liquids to drink, the mother called Poison Control to make sure there’s nothing else to be concerned about. All better and healthy, this child was said to be very lucky since in most of the cases, children can end up seriously ill in the hospital.

What can be done?

Poisoning - Chemicals under the Kitchen SinkAll of you with little children running around the house, getting into all sorts of trouble, can understand the struggle of their constant curiosity. It is important to keep in mind that this is the curiosity that often leads to unforeseen circumstances and terrible mishaps, which is why storing toxic chemicals under the kitchen sink is not considered a good decision. Even products as simple as cosmetics and perfumes are very hazardous to children’s health, which raises the question, what can you do to protect your children? Well, one solution is to childproof your house and place intricate locks on places where you keep these products. It is also wise to make sure that the lids are tightly closed and they are kept at high-off places where your children are unable to reach them. Don’t forget to keep an extra careful eye on your children, especially when they are in a room that contains these chemicals.
Secondly, NEVER store chemicals in a container other than the original one. There have been reported cases of children as well as adults who have ingested chemicals believing it to be water. Placing them in colorful containers also appeals to the inquisitive minds of children and attracts them further.

Not Just a Problem with Storing

The key to protecting your children comes from not only knowing how to store these chemicals but also from paying attention to how you throw them away. Often children are intrigued by an empty bottle left lying around, even if that bottle is in the trashcan. Even though they may seem empty, there are still drops of chemical contained in them which can result in severe consequences. A much safer way to ensure the detergent doesn’t cause any more trouble is to rinse or properly wash it before throwing it away so that if somehow your child still manages to get a hold of it, there really isn’t anything to stress over.

Be Prepared for an Emergency!

Poisoning - Chemicals under the Kitchen SinkIt never hurts to have the necessary arrangements made beforehand to ensure your child’s or even your own safety. To do this, the first thing you need to bear in mind is that your child is at an age where everything appeals to them no matter how minor it is. Therefore, regardless of how hard you try, there will be incidents where they’ll get their hands on your detergent and chemicals collection. In case that happens, here is a list of things you could do before facing an emergency:

FIRST AID KITS: These are important, always make sure you have a full kit available because you might need it at any moment.

DOCTOR’S CONTACT NUMBER: You never know when and what kind of emergency you’ll be facing. Always make sure you have your pediatrician’s contact saved on your cell phone.

READ UP: There are many websites and books available on what to do in case your child have ingested or dropped a chemical on them. Make sure you read up on them so you can handle this situation if it ever happens.

CPR AND HEIMLICH MANEUVER: Take a course of the abdominal thrust and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. They wouldn’t just be beneficial for your child but for you as well. When faced with an emergency, you’ll be more confident to handle the situation on your own. Nevertheless, keep your pediatrician’s number on speed dial as mentioned above.

BE ALERT! If your child has swallowed a large quantity of detergent or any other chemical, keep a mental note of the signs and symptoms of poisoning and immediately call Poison Control or rush them to the hospital. Never make your child sick unless being told by medical personnel. If you do end up going to the hospital A and E, bring the product that your child has taken with you.

If you’re still worried about having these products around the house, you can always switch to a safer alternative that uses plant based ingredients rather than the normal petroleum based ones. Apart from that, it would be wise to use very mild or powdered detergents and not the liquid ones that are normally used in households.

For more details, contact:

National Poisons Information Centre

Beaumont Hospital
PO Box 1297
Beaumont Road
Dublin 9

Members of Public:  +353 (01) 809 2166.  (8.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. 7 days a week)

© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options 2017.


Browse other Parenting Guide articles from Nanny Options
or keep up to date with us on Facebook.