Keep Out of Reach of Children

Study shows decline in household cleaner-related injuries in children, but numbers still high

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) According to a study in the September 2010 issue of the journal Pediatrics, household cleaning products pose a high risk for injury to children.

The study, entitled "Household Cleaning Product-Related Injuries Treated in US Emergency Departments in 1990-2006," indicates a sharp decline in the number of children treated for cleaning product-related injuries. However, the overall number of these injuries remains high.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy, Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital; the Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, Ohio State University; and the Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center, University of Arizona.

In order to select cases of unintentional, non-fatal, household cleaning product-related injuries, Lara B. McKenzie, PhD, MA and colleagues used the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database. They found that between 1990 and 2006 about 267,269 children 5 years of age and younger were treated for injuries related to products such as laundry soaps and detergents, drain cleaners, ammonia, dishwasher detergents, toilet bowl products, swimming pool chemicals, oven cleaners, pine oil cleaners and disinfectants, room deodorizers and fresheners, spot removers, turpentine, and many other household cleaning products. Children between the ages of 1 and 3 accounted for 72 percent of these injuries.

The researchers identified bleach as the predominant cause of cleaner-related injuries, ingestion as the most common mechanism of injury, and spray bottles as the primary source of injurious chemicals.

The data collected demonstrated a 46 percent decrease (from 22,141 in 1990 to 11,964 in 2006) in cleaner-related injuries. This decrease is attributed to a decline in injuries related to regular bottles, original containers, and kitchenware. However, the data showed no decline in injuries caused by spray bottles.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that hazardous household cleaning products should be stored in their original containers in locked areas out of reach from children. They also recommend proper disposal of unused or unwanted products.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 27, 2010
Last Updated:
December 28, 2010