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Children in Northumberland protected from cleaning product injuries in RoSPA campaign


Families in Northumberland are being urged by the Royal Society for the Prevention Accidents (RoSPA) to take action to protect their children from the risks of household cleaning products.

The latest phase of the Take Action Today, Put Them Away campaign, funded by Fairy is being launched on May 5, 2022.
This follows the scheme’s success in over 70 areas of the UK including Hartlepool, County Durham, Darlington, Liverpool, Newcastle, Bradford, Lincolnshire, Warwickshire and Northern Ireland where 500,000 families have been helped to prevent poisoning and eye injuries.
In Northumberland, accidental poisonings accounted for 90 emergency admissions for 0 – 4 year olds between 2017/18- 2019/20.
As part of the campaign, a handy magnetic notepad featuring key safety advice will be handed out to thousands of families by children’s centre staff.
Ashley Martin, RoSPA’s public health adviser, said: The notepad acts as a constant reminder in family kitchens to store cleaning products out of reach, out of sight and in a locked cupboard.
Due to their inquisitive nature, children under the age of five are most at risk of accidentally swallowing or getting household cleaning products, like liquid laundry capsules, into their eyes. Even products with a child-resistant closure cannot guarantee safety - they only reduce the risk by delaying access to the product.
Lesley Grieve, Early Help Locality Manager said:Northumberland Children’s Centres aim to help families build confidence and skills in managing the real risks to children's safety. We want all children to have the freedom to grow and learn, safe from serious harm. We deliver quarterly campaigns around a variety of safety issues found in and around family’s homes. We also raise awareness in our groups and activities to get messages across how accidents can easily happen with young children.
One parent shared her story with us. “My child was 2 at the time, and my husband had been cleaning and he put the bottle of cleaner on top of the cabinet. My son has always been small and we had never seen him able to reach anything from the cabinet before, but as I came into the living room whilst making tea, I noticed my son had the bottle of toxic liquid in his hand, with the lid off and was saying “yack”. I phoned 111, and they had asked me to come into hospital to get him checked out, but on the way he turned grey and I stopped the car just in time for him to vomit in the back of the car. We had to spend a few hours in hospital to ensure he was ok and they regularly checked him before we were able to leave to go home.
It happened so very quickly and unexpectedly; I don’t think I realised how serious this was until I saw his grey face whilst in the car. It was terrifying! Since discussing it with my Children’s Centre Worker afterwards I learnt never to underestimate my son’s ability to explore and the importance of ensuring products are locked away. I think all parents need to know risks to children we may not always think of.
Northumberland Children’s Centres welcome the opportunity to work with RoSPA on the ‘Take Action Today, Put Them Away’ campaign to help raise awareness of accidental poisoning and avoid further accidents and ultimately keeping children safe from harm.
Take action today, put them away advice to parents includes:
•            Store household cleaning products out of reach of children, preferably in a locked cupboard
•            Always store chemicals in their original containers
•            Never pierce or break laundry capsules or tablets
•            Always close the lid of any product
•            In the event of an incident, follow advice on the product pack and seek medical attention.
Further information on the Take Action Today campaign can be found here.

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