Keep Your Child Safe During Covid-19
Covid-19 has forever changed our daily routine, daycare closed, special events cancelled, and a lot of people working remotely. Everyone is trying to avoid germs and avoid illness. Our worst fears should not distract us from the mindful use of cleaning chemicals, including hand sanitizer. Even the cleaning products that are meant to keep us healthy can poison or kill when used and stored improperly, especially around children. You want to educate your children and be mindful of the daily cleaning products you leave out for “quick use”.
Why are children at high risk?
Curiosity killed the cat, and children can be very curious. Their natural inclination to put things in their mouth, lick surfaces and crawl on the floor increase their exposure to chemicals and toxins. Young children are also in a stage of rapid growth and development. They breathe faster and have a faster metabolic rate, making contact to chemicals and toxins even more dangerous and significant.
What safe practices I should follow?
Just like we try and teach our children to pay attention and listen to instructions, you should be practicing what you preach. Read and follow all instructions on the label before buying or using any cleaning product. We have all heard, “use as intended”, and now it’s time to actually follow those rules.
Is it safe to use on surfaces which come in contact with food?
Is it safe to use on a toy that may come in contact with your child’s mouth?
If not, or you don’t know, it’s extremely important to rinse the item or surface with water to remove all the chemical residue and dry the surface thoroughly with a clean towel or paper towel. Try to avoid aerosols because they contain propellants that can affect breathing. Pump or trigger sprays are a better option.
We know, the house is a mess every day with the little ones home fulltime. It’s still not a good idea to clean a room with the kids present. Work on another room while they are playing or working on their homeschooling. You can also move their play or work area while you clean. Make sure all surfaces and items are completely dry before children use them.
Keep all chemicals out of the reach of children.
It’s really easy right now to set a bottle of cleaner down on the counter because you use it every 10 minutes. Perfect example is hand sanitizer. We all now have bottles of the stuff lying around to use at a moments notice. It’s really easy for your child to think it’s ok to drink because he/she put something dirty in their mouth. It kills the germs like mommy and daddy say, so I will drink it and kill all the germs. Nobody is perfect and nobody can watch their child every second, of every day. Just slow down and be mindful of where you lay things.
Some of you are making your own hand sanitizer. Always keep chemicals in their original containers or refill the original containers. If this is not possible, label the alternate container to prevent errors. Keep the original bottle or take a picture of the label with your phone in case you need to reference ingredients or use guidelines.
Do not mix chemicals. Doing so can produce a toxic gas.
Keep the phone number for Poison Control, 800-222-1222, posted and programmed into your phone.
What do I need to know about hand sanitizer?
Keep hand sanitizer out of the reach of children. With its high alcohol content, ingesting hand sanitizer can be toxic for a child. Handwashing with soap and water is always recommended over the use of hand sanitizer. If hand sanitizer is used, closely supervise children to make sure they rub their hands until completely dry, so they do not get sanitizer in their eyes or mouth.
While hand sanitizer is not prohibited for children under 2 years of age, handwashing is the preferred and safer method. Consider using a baby wipe to clean hands if a sink is not available, rather than using hand sanitizer.
Why is this more important than ever?
In response to COVID-19 recommendations, people are using more cleaning products to disinfect and sterilize surfaces and items more often throughout the day. To have quick access, chemicals are being placed where they are easily accessible for adults but not always safely out of reach of children. In addition, this overwhelming need to disinfect and sanitize is making people stressed and distracted from following their typical routines and safe practices.
According to the HHS, as more Americans heed cleaning recommendations to combat exposure to COVID-19, the nation’s Poison Control Centers are simultaneously seeing sharp increases in calls related to cleaners and disinfectants. In recently released CDC data, from January–March 2020, Poison Control Centers received 45,550 exposure calls related to cleaners (28,158) and disinfectants (17,392), representing overall increases of 20 percent and 16 percent from January–March 2019 (37,822) and January–March 2018 (39,122), respectively. Now more than ever, we need to be mindful of our new daily habits we are forming and be extra careful with ease of access over our children’s safety. We hope you are aware of your new daily habits and use this post as a reminder to be extra careful with your curious bundles of joy during these trying times. Stay safe and healthy.