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Removing Household Cleaners with Harsh Chemicals from Your Home Creates a Safer Environment for Kids

August 07, 2019

Removing Household Cleaners with Harsh Chemicals from Your Home Creates a Safer Environment for Kids

80% of all childhood poisoning takes place in the home. Here’s how to keep your kids safe.

Written by Audrey Swanson. Medically reviewed by board-certified pediatrician Dr. Ryan Blackman DO, FAAP.

As parents, it’s our responsibility to protect our kids from harm as much as we possibly can. Parenting isn’t always a smooth course, and children face risks every day, regardless of how much we try to keep them safe. But there are certainly steps we can take to lower the chances of danger in their lives, including removing cleaning products with poisonous ingredients in them from our homes.

According to this study from the Journal of Pediatrics, children 5 years old and younger account for the majority of poisoning exposures in the U.S., and 80% of those exposures take place in the home, since that’s where young children spend most of their time. We know babies, toddlers, and young kids often learn by exploring, following their curiosities, and putting things in their mouths. When it comes to the cleaning products we use in our homes, we just can’t risk little ones accidentally ingesting a product containing harsh chemical ingredients.

In 2006 alone (the most recent year covered in the study), more than 10,000 children needed some sort of medical treatment due to poisoning from household cleaners, and 744 of them had symptoms that were life-threatening or ended in significant residual disability. The answer to this problem is simple: if you haven’t done so already, it’s time to remove household cleaners from your home that could potentially poison your children.

The most dangerous household cleaning products

The study grouped cleaning products into six categories based on similar chemical compositions or characteristics, including:

  • Low molecular weight hydrocarbons: pine oil cleaning products, spot removers, and turpentine
  • Acids and/or alkalis: acids, lye, caustic agents, oven cleaners, drain cleaners, toilet bowl products, and dishwasher detergents
  • Bleach
  • Detergents: laundry soaps and detergents, dishwashing liquids, and miscellaneous detergents
  • Ammonia: Ammonia products, bleach plus ammonia mixtures
  • Other: general purpose household cleaners, wallpaper cleaners, room odor removers, abrasive cleaners, metal polishes, and tarnish removers

Bleach made up nearly 40% of household cleaning product injuries, followed closely by low molecular weight hydrocarbons, acids and alkalis, and detergents at 30.4%. Ammonia products made up 2.5% of the cases. However, children who were exposed to acids and alkalis had the highest odds of hospitalization.

As far as diagnoses go, poisoning was the most common diagnosis, making up more than 68% of cleaning product-related injuries, closely followed by chemical burns at 15.9% and dermatitis or conjunctivitis at 10.4%. It’s anxiety-inducing to think that the items we use to clean our homes could cause such damage.

The reason cleaning products are so captivating to children is because they often come in brightly colored packaging with interesting scents, and they are often stored under sinks in kitchens and bathrooms -- areas where kids can easily access them if they are not properly locked up. Children ages 1 through 3 were the most common age range treated for cleaner-related injuries, most likely because of the curious and explorative nature of this age group.

Ingestion of cleaning products often has the most devastating outcomes. While many companies have childproofed their packaging, there are still plenty of cleaners on the market that contain harmful chemicals that are easy for kids to get into, like many spray bottles, toilet cleaners, and detergents.

To keep children safe, consider taking a few of the following measures to keep cleaning products, chemical-laden or not, out of their hands:

Baby and mom with Puracy Natural Household Products
  • Keep under-sink cabinets locked and secured. Try these easy-to-install baby-proof cabinet locks to ensure they can’t gain access to dangerous substances.
  • Place products that contain harsh chemicals far out of reach and sight of little ones. Keep them in top cabinets or on high shelves that kids can’t access, and consider adding locks to these cabinets, too.
  • Never leave cleaning products open or unattended around children, and never place cleaning products in beverage or food storage containers.
  • After you’re done cleaning, dispose of used paper towels in a safe place (locking trash cans can be helpful to keep both pets and kids out), and throw used cleaning cloths into the wash right away.
  • Sometimes even close supervision and thoughtful home childproofing fails. The safest way to make 100% sure your babies and toddlers aren’t exposed to harmful chemicals in cleaning products is to remove them from your home entirely and replace them with effective natural alternatives.

In an effort to help you keep your kids as safe as possible, we recently discussed this important issue with Dr. Ryan Blackman, a board-certified pediatrician on our consulting team here at Puracy.  Dr. Blackman advised us that, “Unfortunately, ingestion or exposure to toxic household products is a common phenomenon. Children under the age of 5 especially are naturally curious and explorative of their environment. I always reinforce safety proofing and accident prevention with parents, but sometimes, despite best intentions and vigilance, children find their way into harm. Having non-toxic products in the home lessens the likelihood of an accidental exposure turning into a tragedy.”

What to use instead of household cleaners that contain harmful + poisonous chemicals

Luckily, effective cleaners can be made from plant-powered ingredients. All of our products here at Puracy are at least 99.95% natural and safe to use around the entire family, including young children, babies, and pets. We're committed to avoiding toxic ingredients in our formulas, and we never use bleach, ammonia, caustic agents, or many of the other dangerous chemicals highlighted in the research study mentioned above. 

Here are several ways to use Puracy products to get a clean home, the safe way...

Cleaning the kitchen with Puracy Natural Multi-surface Cleaner

Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner:
Use this to safely spray and clean counters, hard floors, glass, bathroom surfaces, electronics, kids’ toys, kitchen surfaces, and any other non-porous household surfaces. Made from purified water, plant-based cleansers, and natural fragrances, this streak-free formula is non-toxic and versatile enough to use throughout your entire home. In fact, it works so well that it was recently rated “The Best All-Purpose Cleaner” by a division of The New York Times.

Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent + Puracy Natural Stain Remover:
For difficult laundry stains or other stubborn fabric blemishes and odors, our laundry detergent and stain remover are the powerhouses of getting clothes and other household fabrics clean, the natural way. Infused with plant-based enzymes, these two products can effectively remove grease, dirt, grime, and stains from most fabrics, without the use of any harmful or poisonous chemicals. Another bonus? Our gentle formulas are ideal for washing clothes and linens for anyone with sensitive skin.

Perhaps most importantly, our laundry detergent packaging doesn’t use “packets” or “pods.” Thanks to a disturbing combination of bright packaging and toxic ingredients, conventional laundry pods have become a serious health risk. According to Dr. Blackman, “Brightly colored concentrated laundry detergent packets have been responsible for an increasing amount of household poisonings. They are enticing to young children who mistake them for candy or toys and have caused significant injury and even death. I’m glad to see that Puracy has avoided this potentially dangerous method of laundry detergent packaging.” 

Puracy Natural Dishwasher Detergent + Puracy Natural Dish Soap:
Free of bleach, petrochemicals, phosphates, phthalates, and other harsh ingredients, our dish soap and dishwasher detergent will make you feel better about cleaning the items your family eats off of. Made entirely of plant- and mineral-based cleansers, softeners, and enzymes, these kitchenware cleaners are powered by gentle and effective natural ingredients.

Your kids’ health and safety is of utmost importance, but you don’t need us to tell you that. Making the switch to natural cleaning products is a safe and easy way to ensure your children don’t accidentally get into hazardous cleaning products that could frighteningly land them in the hospital.

We provide the listed products above and many more natural household cleaning products to get your entire house sparkling clean, without the danger of harmful chemicals. They’re all made from safe and natural ingredients, and we even have a line of baby products to safely clean baby bottles, bibs, and other baby essentials. Give them a try, and make your home a little safer one bottle at a time.

And if you’d like to read more about how to keep your kids safe at home, check out the following links sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)...

AAP News & Journals -- Academic Studies -- Home Safety -- Home Safety and Prevention Tips

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