Health Canada

Health Canada

March 17, 2014 15:01 ET

Government of Canada Reminds Canadians How to Protect Children From Dangerous Household Chemicals

Products should be locked out of sight and out of reach

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 17, 2014) - Health Canada

In Canada, unintentional poisoning is one of the leading causes of preventable injury and death among children under five years of age. Each year thousands of children visit emergency rooms after consuming household chemicals. During Poison Prevention Week 2014 (March 16-22), the Government of Canada, along with consumer product safety agencies in the United States and Mexico, are reminding parents and caregivers of actions they should take to protect children from the dangers of household chemicals.

Prevention is the key to keeping children safe from unintentional poisonings. Canadian parents and caregivers are reminded to:

• Keep chemicals, medications, cosmetics, cleaning supplies and art supplies safely stored in a locked cabinet or box, out of sight and reach of children;

• Make sure all child-resistant containers are functioning properly;

• Teach children that the hazard symbols on household chemical products mean "Danger! Do not touch"; and

• Contact a local Poison Control Centre or 911 immediately if a poisoning is suspected. Keep emergency numbers by your telephone.

Educating the public about poison prevention is one of the trilateral initiatives identified at the North American Consumer Product Safety Summit hosted in Ottawa in September 2013, attended by Minister of Health Rona Ambrose and her product safety counterparts.

Quick Facts

• The Canadian Institute for Health Information estimates that seven children aged 14 years and younger die every year in Canada from unintentional poisoning and another 1,700 are hospitalized with serious injuries.

• For Canadians of all ages, unintentional poisoning is the fourth leading cause of injury deaths and permanent total disability.

• Medications and household chemical products such as bleaches, detergent packs, paint thinners, ammonia, and abrasive cleaners are among the top causes of injuries and deaths from poisonings in children under the age of five.

Quotes

"To a child, colourfully packaged household chemicals such as detergent packs may look like candy even though they contain dangerous ingredients that could cause injury or even death. We want to remind parents and caregivers to lock up all household chemicals and keep them out of the sight and reach of children."

Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

"Poison Prevention Week is an important time to remember that medications, cleaning products and everyday household items are the most common causes of poisoning for children. Keep them out of sight and locked up tight. We are pleased to work with Health Canada on poison prevention, which is key to keeping children safe from harm at home."

Louise Logan, President and CEO
Parachute

"Poison centres across Canada receive approximately 160,000 phone calls each year and close to half of these calls come from parents of children under the age of five. It's critical that parents and caregivers take all precautions possible to keep children safe."

Dr. Martin Laliberté, President
Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres

Associated Links

Health Canada - Is your Child Safe?

Healthy Canadians - Household chemical safety

Parachute Canada - Poison Prevention

Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres

Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at: www.healthcanada.gc.ca/media

Contact Information

  • Michael Bolkenius
    Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
    Federal Minister of Health
    (613) 957-0200

    Health Canada
    Media Relations
    (613) 957-2983

    Public Inquiries:
    (613) 957-2991
    1-866 225-0709