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Keeping Maryland kids away from dangerous chemicals this summer

With summer approaching, many Baltimore residents may be looking forward to spending more time outside with their friends and families. But before you get out the Tiki torches and lawn care products, you should make sure that these products are labeled correctly and out of the reach of children.

Keeping dangerous chemicals and products away from children may seem like common sense, but it is also all too common for these products to cause harm to children during the summer months, according to a study recently published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics. The study claims that about 30 children are injured every day in the U.S. during the summer months after being exposed to hydrocarbon toxins.

Sometimes children mistake toxic substances for other products like juice and soda when parents recycle juice and soda bottles and then use the bottles to store chemicals. Sometimes children just let curiosity get the better of them when they have access to dangerous chemicals. When children are exposed to these dangerous chemicals, though, they may end up suffering serious injuries.

According to the study that was recently published, poison centers across the U.S. received about 66,000 calls during a 10-year period about children under the age of 5 who had been exposed to dangerous chemicals. About 40,000 children were taken to local hospitals for injuries they suffered from being exposed to hydrocarbons.

Hydrocarbons are commonly used, especially during the summer months when folks do more grilling, have bonfires and manicure their lawns. Hydrocarbons include the following:

  • Lighter fluid
  • Lamp oil
  • Gasoline
  • Kerosene

Although these products are packaged in containers that are child-resistant, these chemicals are sometimes transferred to other containers when folks want to have a small amount of these chemicals accessible to them near the grill or inside their vehicles. However, this can be very dangerous, especially when folks have young children. Children could easily get their hands on these chemicals, and if they do, they could end up inhaling or ingesting the dangerous substances.

In order to keep children safe and away from dangerous chemicals this summer, parents and caretakers of young children are urged to do the following:

  • Keep hydrocarbons in places that are not accessible to children
  • Keep hydrocarbons and chemicals in their original containers that have the proper labels on them
  • Monitor children when grilling, mowing the lawn and doing other activities that involve the use of lighter fluid, gasoline and other dangerous products

Of course, if a child does get his or her hands on a dangerous chemical, parents and caretakers must make sure the child is seen by a doctor as soon as possible.

Source: Science World Report, "More poison injuries seen in the summer, what you can do to help prevent them," Kathleen Lees, May 14, 2013

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