Families with toddlers across Bradford are being encouraged to take greater care of household cleaning products in a new campaign being launched today by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and The UK Cleaning Products Association (UKCPI). The campaign is being backed by Bradford Council’s Public Health department.
It asks parents to Take action today, put them away by storing household cleaning products, and other potentially harmful products, safely out of reach of children.
A handy magnetic notepad featuring key safety advice to prevent accidental poisonings from everyday items will be handed out to 40,000 families across the city and its surrounding areas through Bradford Royal Infirmary A&E, children’s centres and local parent and toddler groups.
The magnetic notepad is set to be a constant reminder in family kitchens to store cleaning products out of reach, out of sight and in a locked cupboard, as part of the Take action today, put them away educational campaign, funded by the industry’s trade body the UK Cleaning Products Industry Association or UKCPI.
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.
According to the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council Public Health Dept, over a two year period (2012-14), 161 children under the age of nine attended Airedale General Hospital A&E as a result of accidental poisoning, 146 of whom where under the age of 5. Bradford Royal Infirmary also admitted 60 children under the age of nine over the same period - the majority of these will be under the age of five.
Sheila Merrill, RoSPA’s public health adviser, said: “We want families across Bradford to be aware that it doesn’t take long for tiny hands to get hold of a household cleaning product if they are not kept out of sight and reach.
“Cleaning products are often stored under the sink or by the toilet, but it’s important to realise that child resistant containers will simply slow down a child’s access to the contents it will not prevent them getting at the substances in the container. It is vitally important that parents and carers take steps to reduce the risk of an unnecessary accident.”
Philip Malpass of the UK Cleaning Products Industry Association 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 whilst 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.”
Dr Shirley Brierley, Public Health consultant at Bradford local authority, which is supporting the campaign along with Bradford Public Health and Bradford Safeguarding Children Board, said: “We support this campaign because we are still seeing children presenting at A&E for poisoning in the district.
“We are encouraging parents to find a place in the home for cleaning products that is safe and secure and making sure these products aren’t left out unattended.
“Prevention is the best answer, but if a child does splash or drink cleaning products, it is very important to get immediate advice on 111 or by ringing 999 if they are suffering from breathing difficulties, drowsiness, sickness or seizures.”
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.
Davina Hartley, Child Injury Prevention lead for Bradford Safeguarding Children Board, said: “It’s great to see such high profile national support for this important work safeguarding children. The Home Safety scheme we deliver in Bradford includes safety equipment and advice for parents and carers.
“Campaigns such as this by RoSPA and UKCPI provide invaluable reinforcement and reiteration of the importance of safeguarding our children’s health.”
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.