Friday, 19 April 2013

Five seemingly harmless poisons in your bathroom

For the first time parent, child-proofing the home can seem like an overwhelming task. It is difficult to anticipate all of the various hazards that your child may find ways to access once they become adept explorers. Typically with child-proofing, the first line of defense that comes to mind is preventing the child's access to objects that may cause injury: heavy furniture, doors, sharp objects, etc. However, equally important is restricting your child's access to hazardous substances—especially since of the primary ways young children do their exploring is by putting things in their mouth. While your bathroom may not be the biggest room in your home, you may be surprised by how the considerable proportion of hazardous household materials that are tucked away into it. Potentially dangerous substances include:

Mothballs. We've all heard tales (or lived them!) of children who see these round white orbs as mistake them for peppermint candies—albeit weird-smelling ones. If you're going to use mothballs, keep them in a locked cabinet that your child cannot access.

Medications. Both prescription medications and over the counter medications are equally harmful when ingested by children for whom they are not prescribed. Ideally, such medications should be stored in a locking medicine cabinet that your children cannot access. However, it is common in many household bathrooms to be lacking such a cabinet. If that this the case, consider storing them at a high elevation, out of reach, in a pantry or kitchen cupboard (or even a closet, if privacy is a concern for you).

Toilet cleaner. This is a particularly dangerous one because these cleaners usually include bleach to some degree. While it may be convenient to leave it right beside the toilet for easy access during cleaning time, this really is not advisable if you have little ones. Instead, keep your cleaning supplies together in a locked cabinet or closet.

Nail polish and remover. As you likely know very well, both of these items emit strong fumes, and should only be used in well ventilated areas. Children do not know this, however. A curious mind will only be too fascinated with these highly pigmented minute bottles of paint, and the fumes from such products are definitely not something you want your child exposed to. The same is true (to a lesser degree) of nail polish remover, with the added hazard of the ease of ingesting it. While it makes sense to store these items in your regular cupboards or drawers in the bathroom, for safety's sake, consider storing these toiletries in a locking box or container of some sort.

Soap. Both liquid and solid soaps can present temptations for little ones to ingest—particularly those that are scented after food items. In your shower area, store these items on a shelf higher up so that they are difficult for your little one to reach. If you keep a steady supply of soap on hand, make sure the excess is locked away.