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Child accidental poisonings on the rise: how to avoid disasters at home

Simple mistakes can lead to catastrophic outcomes and households are being urged to be more careful and vigilant

Jim’s Cleaning Group, CEO, Ali Olmez is warning New Zealand families that child accidental poisonings are on the rise all over the country and he is urging parents to be more vigilant in protecting their children.

Jim’s Cleaning Group is Australia and New Zealand’s fastest growing cleaning business with some 1500 franchises.

“A young child will not understand that a kitchen spray that’s lemon scented is not lemonade. They don’t understand that dish detergent that’s green isn’t their favourite lime cordial. And that’s where these dangers lie, in everyday common items that are used in every household. These items are poisonous, but it’s not as though there’s a huge skull and bones sign over them to let your child know that it’s dangerous,” Olmez pointed out.

Children’s high risk factor

“Children are at higher risk of unintentional poisoning exposure or even death than adults due to their smaller size and faster metabolic rates. Children younger than three years old are at the most risk, representing more than 33 percent of all exposures; however up until age five, all children are at a very high risk of accidental poisoning. Medicine and household cleaning products are the top two culprits in poisoning children,” Olmez stated.

Olmez has provided his top tips on how to reduce the risk of accidental poisoning in households.

What can households do to avoid accidents

1. Use toxin free products

“Using natural based cleaning products is an easy way to avoid accidental poisoning at home. Opt for natural based cleaning products wherever possible. Jim’s Cleaning Group has a range of cleaning products that are not only effective but also safe for the whole family. The products are made from a natural plant based biodegradable formula, free from caustic ingredients and soaps, making them ideal for homes with pets and children,” Olmez recommended.

“Our products include: all-purpose spray, bathroom/toilet cleaner, hard floor cleaner, carpet and fabric cleaner, pet stain and odour cleaner, and oven, cooktop and BBQ cleaner. Jim’s Cleaning is one of Australia and New Zealand’s most iconic and recognisable brands. Jim’s Cleaning Group has been in the business for over 20 years and our expert teams clean over a thousand Aussie homes a week! We wanted to help our valued customers maintain the cleanliness of their houses between visits, so we created a range that’s safe for regular use in the home, around children and pets and won’t damage the environment once disposed. Our cleaning products are even ideal for asthma and allergy sufferers.”

2. Keep products out of reach of children

“Families with young children and pets need to be proactive about keeping them safe. Use childproof locks and keep medication away from the reach of children,” Olmez said.

“Never leave your medication lying around on your bedside table. Always remember to secure poisonous products like cleaning detergent immediately after use. It’s equally important to dispose of all empty medicine and poison containers safely, particularly if there’s any residue.

“You should also look for cleaning products that come with childproof caps and remember that something as normal as shampoo is also a poison.”

3. Never reuse bottles or containers

“Medications and cleaning products can sometimes come in an array of fancy and reusable containers and packaging,” Olmez added.

“Always keep poisonous products in their original bottles and packaging and don’t be tempted to reuse them for other liquids or materials. This just shows kids that the contents of the container is safe.

“In addition, don’t ever use other drinking bottles or food containers to store chemicals. Dangerous products need to be kept in their original packaging and placed in unreachable locations.”

4. Beware of outdoor and eatable risks

“Keep all gardening equipment and products locked away in the garden shed,” Olmez said.

“Kids love sheds and unfortunately they tend to house lots of dangerous products as well as heavy and sharp objects.

“Savvy gardeners that grow their own fruit and vegetables and utilise pesticides or other bug killing sprays need to ensure that all fruits and vegetables are thoroughly washed. Don’t let kids near gardens where there has been exposure to chemicals.”

5. Teach children about the dangers of poisons

“As soon as your child can understand, it’s important to teach them that household chemicals and pesticides should never be touched, let alone ingested. The way to teach children is to tell them to always ask a grown up before touching, tasting or smelling something that is unknown. Explain to them that even if something looks interesting or colourful, they could be dangerous, and that many cleaning products have smells like fruits or may look like cordial and syrups,” Olmez said.

First Aid if a child has been poisoned

“If indeed your child has been poisoned, it may be hard, but stay calm and act quickly. Get the rest of the poison away from the child. If the substance is still in the child’s mouth, make him spit it out but don’t try to make him/her vomit. Call the poisons centre for your state immediately for medical advice. You can call these numbers 24/7 from anywhere in Australia,” Olmez said.


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