Families across Newcastle are being targeted in a scheme to prevent child poisonings and eye injuries from household cleaning products.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) launches its Take action today, put them away campaign, funded by the UK Cleaning Products Industry Association (UKCPI), at Newcastle’s Victoria Infirmary tomorrow (Wednesday, September 23).
RoSPA is focusing on Newcastle and the surrounding areas as data shows 180 children aged five and under attended A&E in the 2014-15 year as a result of accidental poisoning, which includes cases involving household cleaning products.
These young patients accounted for one in every 25 cases (four per cent) of all emergency injuries to children aged five and under treated in A&E during that year.
As part of the campaign, a handy magnetic notepad featuring key safety advice will be given out to 40,000 families across the city and its surrounding areas through Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, health visitors, children’s centres and local parent and toddler groups.
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
- In the event of an incident, follow advice on the product pack and seek medical attention.
Ashley Martin, RoSPA’s public health project manager, said: “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. 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.”
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.”
Lindsay Ord, accident prevention specialist health visitor at Newcastle Hospitals Foundation Trust, said: “The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is delighted to support this campaign. As the trust’s accident prevention specialist health visitor, I liaise with the A&E at Royal Victoria Infirmary and am only too aware of the anxiety and distress caused by accidental poisonings as children regularly attend A&E having ingested household cleaners.
“Health visitors in Newcastle provide support to enable parents to keep their children safe and secure, and help them to reach their full potential. Parents having the knowledge of how to prevent poisonings and raising awareness through this campaign is a step towards this goal.”
UKCPI is the leading trade association representing UK producers of cleaning and hygiene products from household soaps, washing powders, liquids, disinfectants, air care and polishes to the professional cleaning and hygiene products used in industrial and institutional applications.
It provides advice and guidance to manufacturers, distributors and users of cleaning and hygiene products. UKCPI also works in partnership with policy makers, the public and the media, to inform public discussions about cleanliness, hygiene and sustainable cleaning.
 Data provided by Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust