While spring cleaning is an excellent time to rid homes of germs, junk and more, it also can present many hazards. The West Virginia Poison Center urges residents to practice caution while cleaning.
Children in particular are at risk during spring cleaning sessions. According to the West Virginia Poison Center, many childhood poisonings occur while cleaning products are being used. In order to prevent this from happening, residents are encouraged to use household cleaners when children are not around. If this cannot be avoided, when not in use, cleaning products should be put in an out of reach place.
The poison center recommends the following tips to keep children safe during spring cleaning:
• Do not leave buckets containing liquids unattended — children can drown in even the small buckets of cleaning fluids.
• Lead poisoning still occurs in children — to prevent this, get rid of toys that have peeling paint. For older toys, check to see if they have been recalled. Throw away all children’s costume jewelry with small metal pieces. Throw away any children’s art supplies that are not made in the U.S. — this includes crayons.
• Make sure to store non-food items in out of reach places or make sure that they are locked away. Child resistant caps are not always effective.
• Keep all cleaning products in their original containers because this is usually the safest way to store them.
In addition to children, pets also are at risk during household cleaning. According to the poison center, pets can be just as easily poisoned as children and adults. Just like with children, adults should make sure that all cleaning products are out of their pet’s reach as animals will often eat or drink almost anything. Animal teeth also are easily capable of puncturing closed cleaning product containers.
As an effort to keep pets safe, the poison center encourages residents to follow these tips:
• Get rid of unused products — if the products are not there, then the pet cannot eat or drink it.
• Keep animals away from areas that have been recently sprayed with herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers.
• Certain plants, bulbs and mulches can be poisonous depending on the amount consumed and type of pet. Information on non-poisonous plants is available on the West Virginia Poison Center’s Web site, www.wvpoisoncenter.org.
• Do not discard old or unused medications in trash cans that are in the pet’s reach — pets can get into the trash and eat the medication, which could cause very harmful side effects.
Those unsure if they, their family or pets have been poisoned or not should call the West Virginia Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.
The West Virginia Poison Center provides comprehensive emergency poison information, prevention and educational resources to West Virginians 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The poison center is staffed by nurses, pharmacists and physicians who all have special training in the treatment of poisonings.