Always read the label: tips for keeping kids safe at home

Babies and toddlers have a thirst for exploration that knows no bounds. Keeping them safe at home can, at first glance, seem relatively simple, but hidden dangers may be lurking among the household products you use every day.  This simple guide will help keep you and your family safe.

Detergents, fuels, bathroom sprays, garden sprays, spa and pool chemicals – even some cosmetics and toiletries­ – can cause harm if not used or stored correctly.

“The best way to keep yourself and your family safe is to read the product label,” says Fiona Thomson-Carter, the General Manager for approving chemicals at the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). The EPA is the government agency that sets the rules for safe use of chemicals in New Zealand.

“Even products that claim they are natural, organic or environmentally friendly can be harmful: check the label so you’re comfortable with the contents before you buy,” Dr Thomson-Carter says.

Labels will often include words that alert you immediately to their harmful effects. Flammable, Caution, Warning, Danger or Poison, and phrases like Keep out of reach of children, or Use only in a well-ventilated area indicate the product can be harmful.

If you have any of these, ensure they are out of sight and out of reach by storing in a locked cupboard or up high where children can’t reach them.

Some products may also have ‘At-a-Glance’ symbols that warn special precautions should be taken.

Dr Thomson-Carter adds: “Our goal is to keep people and our unique environment safe. Make it yours too, by knowing these symbols and always following the label directions.”


Under 5

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