(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
The most intensive period of cleaning of the year – the weeks before Passover – brings with it the highest rate of accidental poisoning, injuries, burns and other incidents in the home.
It becomes even more dangerous during the pre-holiday school vacation; with parents preoccupied with cleaning, young children are especially at risk. They can drown in a pail with a little water, or be poisoned by ingesting cleaning materials while left unsupervised.
The number of accidental poisonings of small children exposed to cleaning substances is about 25 percent higher during this period, and there have also been other injuries as well, according to emergency room physicians at Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba. Most of those injured or poisoned before Passover are children under the age of six.
All chemicals must be well labeled (never poured into bottles that otherwise can contain food) and kept out of the reach of children. Also keep food away from cleaning products. Never mix cleaning products such as scouring powder and ammonia. Always air out rooms after they’ve been cleaned.
In the event of poisoning, call Magen David Adom immediately at 101.
While state standards require special closures on certain cleaning materials that make it difficult for children to open them, these are not mandatory for all chemicals that can hurt them.
In addition, the safety mechanism is often faulty, especially after repeated use.
Wear closed shoes rather than sandals or open-backed slippers while cleaning to avoid slipping on wet surfaces or suffering chemical burns on the feet. Pregnant and lactating women should avoid exposure to toxic materials. Avoid using caustic chemicals to clean the oven. Always carefully read the instructions on the package.
Do not give poisoning victims milk or juice as an antidote. Causing regurgitation of the chemicals can cause severe damage to the esophagus. Make sure victims have open air passages and place them in a comfortable position.
If a chemical gets into the eyes, rinse them thoroughly with water. Do not rub the eyes. If the eye is red and is tearing, call for an ambulance.
If chemicals trigger a mild allergic reaction, wash the affected are with water only, and follow instructions on the package. If the victim is suffering from swelling or respiratory difficulties, call an ambulance and seat the person upright.
Keep children at a distance while baking, cooking and burning hametz.
Place pot handles facing the back of the stove so they cannot be accidentally knocked over. If someone suffers a local burn, lukewarm running water should be used to cool it. If the burn is serious, call an ambulance.