Hazardous Household Products

Some common household products can be very dangerous to children:

  • bleach
  • rat poison
  • mothballs
  • charcoal
  • lighter fluid
  • oven cleaner
  • batteries
  • mercury thermometers
  • gas
  • oil
  • wood polish
  • toilet and drain cleaners
  • shoe polish
  • bug spray
  • and many other common household products

How are children harmed by these products?

Children can be poisoned if products are stored or thrown away unsafely. Children’s bodies are small, so even a small amount of some chemicals can cause big problems. Eating or drinking the products is dangerous. Sometimes, they can burn skin and eyes just by touching them. They can make you sick when they get into your body through your skin or when breathing in dust or fumes.

How do I know if my child was exposed to a hazardous chemical?

Sometimes the symptoms of chemical exposure are obvious: the child feels sick or dizzy, their skin could burn and itch or their eyes might water. Some health problems might not occur until a much later date, such as damage to the lungs or cancer. Consult your doctor if you have any suspicion that your child may have been exposed to a dangerous chemical.

What can I do to avoid exposure?

First, follow the instructions on the product. Follow these steps, too:

  • Buy what you need to do the job and nothing more.
  • Use safe products whenever possible.
  • Read and follow the directions on all products.
  • Keep hazardous products out of the reach of children, including bleach.
  • Keep poison control center telephone numbers readily available.
  • Never mix two products unless you are sure it is safe. For example, never mix ammonia and bleach.
  • Do not burn containers.
  • Recycle household products where possible.
  • Give leftover products to someone else.
  • Keep everything in its original container.
  • Only buy chemicals in childproof containers.  

Hazardous Household Products Web Links and Contact Information: