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Protect Children from Accidental Pesticide Poisoning

By Chris Williams on January 2, 2012.

A pesticide poisoning accident could happen to your children or to children visiting your home if you don’t keep pesticides out of their reach, or if you don’t read the label carefully before using a pesticide. Take the following precautions to protect children from unintentional pesticide poisoning or pesticide exposure:

1) Always store pesticides and household cleaning products out of children’s reach, in a locked cabinet or garden shed. Install child-proof safety latches on cupboards and cabinets. Safety latches are available at your local hardware store or building supply warehouse.

2) Before applying pesticides—indoors or outdoors—remove children and their toys, along with any pets and their toys, from the area. Keep them away from the treated area until the pesticide has dried and for at least the length of time recommended on the pesticide label.

3)  If you are interrupted while applying a pesticide—by a phone call, for example—be sure to close the pesticide container properly and put it out of reach of any child who may come into the area while you are gone.

4) Never remove labels from containers, and never transfer pesticides to other containers. Children may mistake them for food or drink.

5) Never put rodent or insect baits where small children can find them, pick them up, and put them in their mouths.

6) Make sure you close any container marked “child resistant” very tightly after you use the product. Check periodically to make sure the product is securely closed. Child resistant does not mean child proof, so you should still be careful with products that are sold in child-resistant packaging.

7) Make sure others—especially babysitters, grandparents, and other caregivers—know about the potential hazards of pesticides and proper storage.

8) Teach children that “pesticides are poisons”—something they should never touch or eat.

9) Keep the telephone number of your nearest poison control center near each phone. Have the pesticide container with you if you have to call.

[Source: The Environmental Protection Agency, Citizen’s Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety]

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