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Household Spray Cleaners Pose Greatest Danger to Toddlers
Date:8/2/2010

By Madonna Behen
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- The number of injuries to young children caused by exposure to household cleaning products have decreased almost by half since 1990, but roughly 12,000 children under the age of 6 are still being treated in U.S. emergency rooms every year for these types of accidental poisonings, a new study finds.

Bleach was the cleaning product most commonly associated with injury (37.1 percent), and the most common type of storage container involved was a spray bottle (40.1 percent). In fact, although rates of injuries from bottles with caps and other types of containers decreased during the study period, spray bottle injury rates remained constant, the researchers reported.

"So many household products are sold in spray bottles these days, because for cleaning purposes they're really easy to use," said study author Lara B. McKenzie, a principal investigator at Nationwide Children's Hospital's Center for Injury Research and Policy. "But spray bottles don't generally come with child-resistant closures, so it's really easy for a child to just squeeze the trigger."

McKenzie added that young kids are often attracted to a cleaning product's pretty label and colorful liquid, and may mistake it for juice or vitamin water. "If you look at a lot of household cleaners in bottles these days, it's actually pretty easy to mistake them for sports drinks if you can't read the labels," added McKenzie, who is also assistant professor of pediatrics at Ohio State University. Similarly, to a young child, an abrasive cleanser may look like a container of Parmesan cheese.

Researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital examined national data on roughly 267,000 children aged 5 and under who were treated in emergency rooms after injuries with household cleaning products between 1990 and 2006. During this time period, 72 percent of the injuries occurred in children between the
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