In the first few months after Tide came out with their handy PODS®, single-use detergent pouches that can be tossed into the washer, more than 250 people called poison control hotlines because their kids had eaten the pods. With their bright colors and squishy shapes highlighted in clear plastic tubs, the pods looked like candy.
Tide has repackaged Pods into opaque orange bins with a child-proof lock, but since they came on the market, this style of packaging has become popular for lots of cleaning products. Dishwashing detergent, glass cleaners, and other cleaning products use bright colors, interesting textures, and fun and enticing packaging that draw the eye and can pique the interest of children.
Maybe you yourself have looked at a brightly colored dishwasher detergent tab with what resembles a gumball center and thought that it looks, well, delicious. As an adult you can remind yourself that while these cleaners look like candy they are in fact not candy, and they can make you sick. You know that you shouldn’t consume cleaners. Children, however, see cleaners that look like candy and feel compelled to taste them. In their minds, if it looks like candy, it probably tastes like candy. Young children don’t necessarily know that it’s bad to eat or drink cleaners.
Choose subtle packaging
One way that you can help make household cleaning supplies less tempting for children is to choose soaps, detergents, and cleaners in dull or subtle packaging. Bright colors and clear packaging that show candy-shaped detergents are more appealing to young children.
It’s important keep cleaners in their original packaging. The box or bottle displays important safety information such as warnings, instructions for use, and what to do in the event of an accident. So you should choose the brand with safer packaging. If that’s not your favorite brand, let that fave know that you’ll switch back to their brand when they update their packaging.
Storing cleaning products
If you are partial to those brightly colored cleaning products, store them in discreet bins that are less enticing to children and more difficult for children to open.
Choose child-proof cleaning products and always be sure to properly close and seal cleaning products after use.
Keep cleaners out of reach of children. Store cleaning products in overhead cabinets, or install locks on floor cabinets to keep children from getting into them.
Teach your children about cleaning products
Cleaning products help make your home safer and can keep your family healthy. It’s important, however, to educate your children on the dangers of cleaning products. Simply telling your kids not to touch the tasty looking soap in the laundry room doesn’t communicate that consuming cleaning products could mean a trip to the emergency room.
Read through the warnings and directions on cleaner packaging, and explain the information to your children in a way that they can understand. Know what to do if your child accidentally ingests cleaners, and have a plan ready.