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Children protected from cleaning product injuries

13 August 2018

FAMILIES IN East Ayrshire are being urged by the Royal Society for the Prevention Accidents (RoSPA) to take action to protect their children from the risks of household cleaning products

The latest phase of the Take Action Today, Put Them Away campaign was launched at East Ayrshire Council’s Vibrant Communities Playday at Kay Park, Kilmarnock.

This follows the scheme’s success in Birmingham, Liverpool, King’s Lynn, Nottingham, Newcastle and Bradford, where 240,000 families have been helped to prevent poisoning and eye injuries.

Across Scotland in 2016/17, 342 children under the age of five were poisoned in their own homes. NHS Ayrshire and Arran recorded one of the highest numbers of poisonings in this age group for the same period (48).

As part of the campaign, a handy magnetic notepad featuring key safety advice will be handed out to families by home safety officers, public health nurses, health visitors, children’s centres and parent and toddler groups.

RoSPA Scotland’s community safety development manager Carlene McAvoy said, “The notepad acts as a constant reminder in family kitchens to store cleaning products out of reach, out of sight and in a locked cupboard.

“Due to their inquisitive nature, children under the age of five are most at risk of accidentally swallowing or getting household cleaning products, like liquid laundry capsules, into their eyes. Even products with a child-resistant closure cannot guarantee safety – they only reduce the risk by delaying access to the product.”

Philip Malpass, from the industry’s trade body, the UKCPI, said: “Cleaning products are designed to be safe to use and to provide the clean and hygienic home we often take for granted today. The accidents we see involving young children and cleaning products are avoidable and while the severity of the injuries are generally low, we hope that this campaign will remind parents to follow the usage instructions on the packaging, and in so doing, avoid unnecessary accidents.”

Cabinet member for community safety at East Ayrshire Council Councillor Jim McMahon said, “We are pleased to be teaming up with RoSPA to raise awareness of this important issue and Playday was the perfect place to launch the campaign as there were plenty of young people, parents and carers to spread the message to.

“We cannot underestimate the damage that can be done to young children from potential poisons in the home, and the importance of ensuring that they cannot get access to cleaning products or toxic chemicals which can cause rashes, chemical burns, breathing problems, or eye damage.”

Take action today, put them away advice to parents includes:

  • Store household cleaning products out of reach of children, preferably in a locked cupboard;

  • Always store chemicals in their original containers;

  • Never pierce or break laundry capsules or tablets;

  • Always close the lid of any product; and

  • In the event of an incident, follow advice on the product pack and seek medical attention.