Avoiding the Dangers of Household Cleaners

Air Date: 08/06/2010
Source:
NBC Today Show
Creator:
Matt Lauer/Kevin Tibbles
Air/Publish Date:
08/06/2010
Event Date:
08/06/2010
Resource Type:
News Report
Copyright:
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
Copyright Date:
2010
Clip Length:
00:01:58

Between 1990 and 2006, more than half a million American children under the age of five were treated for injuries related to household cleaning products, most of them toddlers who ingest or inhale often strong chemicals.

Avoiding the Dangers of Household Cleaners

MATT LAUER, co-host: Now to a warning for parents about those convenient spray cleaners you use in your home. As NBC's Kevin Tibbles explains, they can be a dangerous and sometimes deadly temptation for toddlers.

KEVIN TIBBLES, reporting: It happened in the blink of an eye.

Ms. ERICA CHRISTIAN: I remember turning around, seeing him with a handful of carpet freshener, putting it in his mouth.

TIBBLES: Erica Christian's 19-month-old son, Jalen, was poisoned from ingesting that carpet freshener and rushed to the hospital. Luckily he suffered no permanent damage. But each year the chemicals found in common household cleaners send thousands of young children to the emergency room.

Ms. LARA McKENZIE (Nationwide Children's Hospital): The biggest offenders in the way of the products were bleach and things like pine cleaners and spot removers.

TIBBLES: From 1990 to 2006, more than 267,000 children under five were treated for injuries related to household cleaning products.

Dr. HEATH JOLLIFF (Nationwide Children's Hospital): A child puts them in their mouth, they realize that this is a yucky chemical, and the first thing they do is they do this, and it goes into their lungs instead. And that's where it causes the most damage.

TIBBLES: Another problem for kids, many of the brightly colored cleansers that we keep in our homes look very similar to the sorts of things they like to eat or drink. Nearly 20 years of research went into the study, which also found that while parents are doing a better job of keeping dangerous chemicals locked up, about 12,000 children are still injured each year. And spray bottles are of particular concern as many parents forget to lock the nozzles.

Ms. McKENZIE: Another tip would be to keep cleaners in their original containers and not transfer them into kitchenware or other containers that aren't labeled.

TIBBLES: With so many brightly colored and sweet smelling cleaners on the market, researchers say parents need to keep these products out of reach so our children don’t confuse solvents with sodas. For Today, Kevin Tibbles, NBC News, Chicago.

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