By Colin Johnson, Director of Environmental Health, Medina County Health Department
Better Safe Than Sorry
There are always some chances in life we can afford to take, but risks that can affect your child’s health should never be one of them. By performing just a few common sense practices in your home, parents and caregivers can ensure the well-being of their child’s health.
Most poisonings happen in a child’s home or while visiting the home of a friend, family member, or a babysitter. For this reason, it’s critical that all caregivers of children make a room-by-room inspection of their homes for improperly stored pesticides, chemicals, and other dangerous products.
The following list is intended to remind you of the various places around the house that dangerous products can be found. As you conduct a room-by-room inspection, get down to a child’s level so no potential hazards go unnoticed.
Bedroom;- mothballs, hair sprays, colognes, nail polish remover
Living room – rodent pellets, ant and roach bait
Kitchen- bleach, drain cleaners, ammonia, floor wax, furniture polish, dishwashing detergent disinfectants, oven cleaner
Garage -stored gasoline, kerosene, car wax, weed killer, paint, windshield washer fluid, antifreeze
Keep It Safe
- Always store pesticides and other household chemicals, including chlorine bleach, out of children’s reach – preferably in a locked cabinet. Ensure product containers are securely sealed.
- Read the Label FIRST! Pesticide products, household cleaning products, and pet products can be dangerous or ineffective if too much or too little is used.
- Before applying pesticides or other household chemicals, remove children and their toys, as well as pets, from the area. Keep children and pets away until the pesticide has dried or as long as is recommended on the label.
- If your use of a pesticide or other household chemical is interrupted (perhaps by a phone call), properly reclose the container and remove it from children’s reach. Always use household products in child-resistant packaging.
- Never transfer pesticides to other containers that children may associate with food or drink(like soda bottles), and never place rodent or insect baits where small children can get to them.
- When applying insect repellents to children, read all directions first; do not apply over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin; does not apply to eyes, mouth, hands, or directly on the face; and use just enough to cover exposed skin or clothing, but do not use under clothing.
- Many homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint. If you plan to remodel or renovate, get your home tested. Don’t try to remove lead paint yourself.
- Ask about lead when buying or renting a home. Sellers and landlords must disclose known lead hazards in houses or apartments built before 1978.
- Get your child tested for lead. There are no visible symptoms of lead poisoning, and children may suffer behavior or learning problems as a result of exposure to lead hazards.
- Wash children’s hands, toys, and bottles often. Regularly clean floors, window sills, and other surfaces to reduce possible exposure to lead and pesticide residues. Contact our Health Service Division at 330-723*9688 for more information about lead poisoning or to schedule a screening.
- In many instances, there are safer alternatives and solutions to household chemicals. Using fewer unnecessary chemicals will make your home a healthier and safe environment.
If you think someone has been poisoned from a household chemical, call the NorthernOhioPoisonControlCenter at 1-800-222-1222 .
The Medina County Health Department’s Environmental Division offers several programs and services to keep you and your family healthy and safe. From the inspections of local restaurants to mosquito prevention in the summer time, (and everything in between) our team of highly skilled sanitarians and inspectors are trained to promote healthy environments and surroundings. For more information about environmental health, inspections, or permits, contact us at 330-723-9688 (option 3).