Keep kids safe around household chemicals
Chances are you have a variety of household chemical products at home, like cleaning liquids and powders, drain cleaners and paint. These can pose serious health risks to children if they are not used and stored properly.
Tips for chemical safety at home
- Make sure all child-resistant containers are functioning properly.
- Teach children that hazard symbols mean "Danger! Do not touch."
- Read the label before every use and store chemicals according to the instructions, in a place where children cannot see or reach them. Always store chemicals in their original containers. Make sure the labels are not removed or covered.
- Never mix chemicals together.
- Keep emergency numbers by the phone (e.g., for your local poison control centre).
Did you know...
If your child swallows or is injured by contact with a chemical product:
- Call your local Poison Control Centre immediately.
- Give all information from the product label to the person on the phone.
- Bring the container with you when you go to the hospital or for other medical help.
Understanding hazard symbols
Make sure children understand household chemical hazard symbols so they don't unintentionally harm themselves or others.
Hazard symbols show a picture inside a frame. The picture tells you the type of danger, and the frame tells you if the container or the contents are dangerous. A frame in the shape of a stop sign means the contents of the container are dangerous. An upside down triangle frame means that the container itself is dangerous.
Hazard symbols are accompanied by signal words:
- CAUTION means temporary injury may occur – and in cases of extreme exposure, possibly death.
- DANGER means the item may cause temporary or permanent injury or death.
- EXTREME DANGER means exposure to very low quantities may cause death or temporary or permanent injury.
All regulated containers have a bordered area containing safety instructions that include the words "First Aid Treatment" and give specific directions about what to do in case of injury. The bordered area also provides a list of the harmful substances contained in the product.
Check out Health Canada's Stay Safe Program that teaches children to recognize hazard symbols found on household chemical products in a fun and interactive way.
- Date modified: