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

ages of 1 and 3 years.

The findings were published online Aug. 2 and will appear in the September print issue of Pediatrics.

To prevent accidental injuries from household products, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends storing poisonous substances in locked cabinets and out of sight and reach of children, buying products with child-resistant packaging, keeping products in their original containers, and properly disposing of leftover or unused products.

"This study just confirms how often these accidents still happen, how disruptive they can be to health, and how expensive they are to treat," said Dr. Robert Geller, medical director of the Georgia Poison Control Center in Atlanta. "If you consider that the average emergency room visit costs at least $1,000, you're looking at almost $12 million a year in health-care costs," he explained.

"Often a young child gets exposed to these kinds of products when someone is cleaning, and leaves a bottle open on the counter because they're in the middle of using it," said Geller, who is also a professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine. "So a good reminder is to always close the product completely after using it, even if you plan to open it again in a few minutes."

That scenario is almost exactly what happened to 1-year-old Keegan Ensign, who was treated at Nationwide's emergency department earlier this year. "It was one of the first nice days in May, and we were all outside playing on the driveway," said Keegan's mother, Tamara Ensign, 29, a mother of three in Lewis Center, Ohio. "I had a bottle of dish soap out because the kids wanted to play car wash, and I set it down on the pavement and turned my back for just a second. When I turned back around, Keegan was holding the bottle and wailing."

Although Keegan's mother didn't think he had swallowed very much of the soap, she called poison control because he was coughing and wheezing a lot. Concerned that he
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