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ROSPA and Cornwall Council join forces to stop accidental poisonings

Families in Cornwall are being urged by the Royal Society for the Prevention Accidents (RoSPA) and Cornwall Council to take action to protect their children from the risks of household cleaning products.

The latest phase of the Take Action Today, Put Them Away campaign, funded by the UK Cleaning Products Industry Association (UKCPI), has been virtually launched by the Healthy Under 5s Team at Healthy Cornwall.  Early Years settings in Cornwall have joined the campaign and will distribute vital safety information to their families. 

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This follows the scheme’s success in 26 areas of the UK including Birmingham, Liverpool, King’s Lynn, Nottingham, Newcastle, Bradford, Lincolnshire, Warwickshire and Northern Ireland where 400,000 families have been helped to prevent poisoning and eye injuries.

In Cornwall, accidental poisonings accounted for 125 emergency admissions for 0 – 4 year olds between 2016/17- 2018/19.

As part of the campaign, a handy magnetic notepad featuring key safety advice will be handed out to thousands of families by childcare providers and health visitors.

Ashley Martin, RoSPA’s acting public health adviser, said: “The notepad acts as a constant reminder in family kitchens to store cleaning products out of reach, out of sight and in a locked cupboard.

“Due to their inquisitive nature, children under the age of five are most at risk of accidentally swallowing or getting household cleaning products, like liquid laundry capsules, into their eyes. Even products with a child-resistant closure cannot guarantee safety - they only reduce the risk by delaying access to the product.”

Philip Malpass, from the industry’s trade body, the UKCPI, said: “Cleaning products are designed to be safe to use and to provide the clean and hygienic home we often take for granted today. The accidents we see involving young children and cleaning products are avoidable and whilst the severity of the injuries are generally low, we hope that this campaign will remind parents to follow the usage instructions on the packaging, and in so doing, avoid unnecessary accidents.”

Cabinet Member for Children, Public Health and Wellbeing, Sally Hawken said: “There are so many hidden dangers lurking in the family home and it is vitally important that parents are aware and informed. We are committed to ensuring children get the best start in life and I welcome this partnership with RoSPA on this vitally important subject.” 

Take action today, put them away advice to parents includes:

•          Store household cleaning products out of reach of children, preferably in a locked cupboard

•          Always store chemicals in their original containers

•          Never pierce or break laundry capsules or tablets

•          Always close the lid of any product

•          In the event of an incident, follow advice on the product pack and seek medical attention.

UKCPI is the leading trade association representing UK producers of cleaning and hygiene products from household soaps, washing powders, liquids, disinfectants, air care and polishes to the professional cleaning and hygiene products used in industrial and institutional applications.

It provides advice and guidance to manufacturers, distributors and users of cleaning and hygiene products. UKCPI also works in partnership with policymakers, the public and the media, to inform public discussions about cleanliness, hygiene and sustainable cleaning.