Transitioning to a “clean and green” home has had an unexpected benefit – fewer chemicals means the chance of accidental poisoning has been minimized. This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. All opinions are 100% mine. I am extremely honored to work with Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company on this #MakeSafeHappen campaign. #ad #IC

5 Toxic Itemsv4

I was loading the dishwasher at my parents house and used one of those pods. “Be sure to wash your hands,” my Father cautioned after I closed the door.  “Um… why?” “Because it’s toxic to handle.”

Think about that for a minute. The chemicals used to clean our dishes, laundry, etc are too toxic for us to handle. But somehow these chemicals are fine to consume after the dishes or laundry are clean?

It reminds me of when I was going through chemo. The infusion nurses would have on their “HAZMAT Zoot Suits” to deliver my chemo drugs into the IV. Ok… so you are putting this poison into my body… yet it’s that’s dangerous if you are exposed to it?

I’m not trying to be alarmist, but there are some scary facts and statistics to consider about the every day home chemicals we use. Children have a way of getting into everything, even household items that can be dangerous. In fact, 9 out of 10 poisonings occur in the home.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly nine million children are treated at emergency rooms across the country and more than 9,000 children die each year due to accidental injuries.




According to a recent Nationwide Make Safe Happen survey of more than 1,000 parents with children under 13 years of age:

  • 2 in 5 parents (43%) have kept cleaning solutions in a low, unlocked cabinet (Source: Nationwide survey)
  • 36% of parents said they have bought a safety product (e.g., cabinet locks) but didn’t use or install it. (Source: Nationwide survey)
  • More than half of all parents (52%) do not safeguard laundry packets from children’s reach (Source: Nationwide survey)
  • In 2015, 12,594 kids 5 and younger were exposed to single-load laundry packets. Exposure means e.g., ingested, inhaled, absorbed by the skin or eyes, etc. Not all exposures are poisonings or overdoses (Source: AAPCC)
  • 1,009 kids 5 and younger were exposed to single-load laundry packets from Jan. 1, 2016, to Jan. 31, 2016. Exposure means e.g., ingested, inhaled, absorbed by the skin or eyes, etc. Not all exposures are poisonings or overdoses (Source: AAPCC)
  • Every day, over 300 children in the U.S. ages 0 to 19 are treated in an emergency department, and two children die, as a result of being poisoned (Source: CDC)
  • Each year, Poison Centers answer more than 1 million calls about a child under the age of 5 (Source: Safe Kids Worldwide)

*The Make Safe Happen survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Nationwide between November 4, 2015 and November 13, 2015, among 1,001 U.S. parents or guardians of children ages 0 to 12 years old.


5 Risks of Accidental Poisoning


The risks associated with poisoning around the home are vast especially with new household items that can be harmful to the health of your child in additional to traditional cleaners and medicines. Some of the more modern poisoning risks include:

  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Laundry Packets
  • Button Batteries
  • Medications
  • e-Cigarettes.

And while many parents do or intend to keep at least most of their known poisons up and away it’s easy to get distracted when multitasking or put things within a child’s reach while cleaning/reorganizing.


5 Toxic Items

Hand Sanitizer

The  Risk:  Hand  sanitizers  might  look/smell  like  candy  but  may  have  dangerous  levels  of  alcohol,   presenting  risks  to  children  when  ingested.

The  Advice:  Supervise  use,  keep  stored  up  and  away

Supporting  Materials:

Think about this: How many moms of babies and toddlers have their hand sanitizer hanging on a key chain attached to the stroller or diaper bag? How often is this left unattended at home or the playground?


Laundry Packets

The Risk: Laundry packets are often bite-size, colorful packages that looks like child toys, yet contain high chemical concentrations which are harmful to children when ingested. Risks also include chemical burns to the eyes, skin, nose, and mouth as well.

The Advice: Use carefully and store them up and away and in original containers

Supporting Materials:

Think about this: There are many non-toxic options to clean your laundry and dishes!


Button Batteries

The  Risk: Button  batteries  are  often  small  tablet-­‐shaped  objects  that  are  enticing  to  children  to  put  in   their  mouths,  but  can  cause  electrical/chemical  burns  when  swallowed.  These  buttons  can  be  found  in   kids’  favorite  things  like  mom  or  dad’s  cell  phone,  singing  greeting  cards,  keys,  watches  and  more.

The  Advice:  Keep  batteries  away  from  kids.  For  battery  operated  items  make  sure  the  battery   compartments  are  secure  (require  a  screwdriver  to  open).  For  battery  compartments  that  do  not   require  a  screwdriver  to  open,  use  duct  tape  to  keep  them  from  becoming  loose  or  batteries  from   falling  out.

Supporting  Materials:



The  Risk:  Kids  often  can’t  tell  the  difference  between  medicine  and  candy.  Additionally,  those  child   resistant  medicine  lids  and  packaging  aren’t  always  100%  child  proof.  All  this  can  lead  to  accidental   ingestion.  It’s  also  good  to  check  purses  and  drawers.  These  are  common  places  where  medicines  are   kept  and  kids  have  access.

The  Advice:  Keep  medicines  in  their  original  container  and  stored  away  from  kids.  Also  make  sure   you  dispose  of  them  properly.  To  dispose  of  medications  yourself:  Remove  the  medication  from  its   packaging  and  pour  it  into  a  sealable  plastic  bag.  If  you’re  throwing  out  pills,  add  water  to  dissolve   them.  Mix  in  cat  litter,  sawdust  or  used  coffee  grounds  and  toss  it  in  the  garbage. Many drugstores will also safely dispose of unused medicines.

Supporting  Assets:

Think about this: How many of you as adults take gummy vitamins in addition to your children? Gummies look and taste like candy.

Additionally, How many of our older kids are on ADHD medicine?  While it’s easy to remember to secure adult medicine, how accessible are these stimulants to the littles?



The  Risk:  E-­‐cigarettes  are  filled  with  flavorful  nicotine  that  smells  and  tastes  sweet,  but  the  levels  of   nicotine  can  be  harmful  to  children.

The  Advice:  Keep  refills  and  vaping  supplies  locked  up  and  away

Supporting  Materials:

Think about this: Of course you don’t vape. You know better.  Is there a teenager in your house? Don’t be fooled into a false sense of angelic behavior. Trust but verify, not only for the safety of your teen, but for the safety of the littles.


How You Can Prevent Accidents


What better time to talk about poison prevention – one of the Make Safe Happen four critical safety focus areas – than Poison Prevention Week, March 20-26, 2016.  Poisoning can happen quickly but the good news is that there are easy steps you can take to keep your children safe:

  • Use Safety: Although you may be familiar with many of the items that are poisonous, there are many more that also need to be kept out of your child’s sight and reach. It’s best to avoid even using chemicals in front of kids, especially if they are five years old and younger.
  • Safe Storage and Disposal: Keep any household cleaners or medicines in the original containers, out of sight and reach, and in a locked cabinet. Immediately dispose of old or unused chemicals and medicines.
  • Be Prepared: If you suspect or know that a child has ingested or come into contact with any poison, call the poison Help Number. Take a moment to save the Poison Control number to you phone: (1-800-222-1222).


You Can Make Safe Happen!

Make Safe Happen is a program dedicated to reducing accidental injury – the leading cause of death of children. A champion for child safety and well-being for more than 60 years, Nationwide launched Make Safe Happen in 2015 to empower parents, caregivers and children with tools and resources to make homes safer.

This year, in collaboration with nonprofit partners like Safe Kids Worldwide, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the American Red Cross, Make Safe Happen will focus on educating caregivers on four critical at-home safety risks. They are: furniture and TV tip-overs, poisoning, drowning and fire. These serious, complex and potentially fatal issues require greater attention and understanding, which is why Nationwide is working to empower and inspire one million safety actions by the end of the year.

As part of the program, Nationwide has created where caregivers can find tips and tools, including checklists to make their home safer. And for people that spend more time on their mobile device there is a Make Safe Happen App. The app is owned by signature partner, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and was developed by the safety experts in their Center for Injury Research and Policy. The App includes room-to-room safety checklists and links to recommended products and allows users to create to-do lists, set reminders and track your progress. The app is available for iOS and Android.

Beyond the digital resources the program partners with Safe Kids Worldwide to host local safety events in cities across the county. A full list of events is available on the website.


Connect and Share

What about you?  What are your biggest fears with childhood poisoning?  What are some preventative measures you take in your own home?

Love, hugs, and better safe than sorry.


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