Chemical Safety at Home

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With Spring here, many of us will start to utilize fertilizers and other chemicals to help take care of our lawns and gardens. This is a good time to evaluate your chemical storage at home to protect your children or grandchildren.

Poison control centers across the country get more than 2 million calls a year about potential exposure to poisons. Almost all of these exposures occur in the home and 80% of all poisonings are in children between the ages of 1 and 4. Follow these guidelines to prevent poisoning in the home.

  • Install safety locks/childproof latches on all cabinets to restrict access to children.
  • Store potential poisons including detergents, medications, cosmetics and perfumes, and chemical products (like pesticides and drain cleaners) out of reach and out of sight of children -- inside the house as well as in the garage or shed.
  • Store potential poisons in their original containers. Do not transfer them to food containers like milk jugs or coffee cans.
  • Keep food and potential poisons separate; store them in different cabinets. Children can mistake the identity of products that look alike to them.
  • Return all products to storage immediately after use. Keep the products and your children in sight during use.
  • Safely discard -- into a sealed, outdoor trash receptacle -- all household products and medications that are old or aren't used regularly.
  • Never mix products; dangerous fumes could result.
  • Make sure medications are in child-resistant containers. Vitamins and supplements also should be out of reach of children. Remember that child-resistant is not child-proof.
  • Keep indoor plants out of reach; some may be poisonous.
  • Stay away from areas that have been sprayed recently with pesticides or fertilizer.

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