Preparedness Minute: Spring Cleaning

Written by Karen Smith on . Posted in Front Page, News

Spring is here.  The weather has warmed up, the flowers are in bloom and of course it is time when our thoughts turn to spring cleaning.

For many people this means using cleaning supplies that may be   potentially hazardous, especially if not used correctly.   Some may find this a good time for cleaning out the garage where possibly dangerous chemicals may be lurking. 

 Accidental Poisoning Can Be Avoided

  •  Always read the label before using a product that may be poisonous.

    do not put poisons in food containers

  • Keep chemical products in their original bottles or containers. Do not use food containers such as cups, bottles, or jars to store chemical products such as cleaning solutions or beauty products.
  • Never mix household products together. For example, mixing bleach and ammonia can result in toxic gases.
  • Wear protective clothing (gloves, long sleeves, long pants, socks, shoes) if you spray pesticides or other chemicals.child proof cabinets
  • Turn on the fan and open windows when using chemical products such as household cleaners.
  • Never leave children alone with household products or drugs. If you  are using chemical products or taking medicine and you have to do something else, such as answer the phone, take any young children with you.
  • Do not leave household products out after using them. Return the products to a childproof cabinet as soon as you are done with them.
  • Make sure your child does not have access to peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint.
  • Regularly wash children’s hands and toys. Hands and toys can become contaminated from household dust or exterior soil. Both are known lead sources.

What do I do in the event of a poisoning?

 REMAIN CALMCalifornia poison control

If the person is UNCONSCIOUS or has CONVULSIONS, or any DIFFICULTY BREATHING, call 9-1-1.   

Otherwise call the Poison Control Center — 1-800-222-1222.

When you call the Poison Control Center you will need the following information 

  • AGE and WEIGHT of the person.
  • WHAT was ingested. Have the bottle or container with you.
  • HOW MUCH was taken. This will help the Poison Center Specialist determine the severity of the incident.
  • HOW the victim is feeling or acting right now.
  • Your NAME and PHONE number.

First Aidfirst-aid-kit_f1DHs8Id

First aid is not a substitute for calling the Poison Control Center.   Call as soon as you can get to a phone.

EYE – Flood the eye with lukewarm water. Repeat for 15 minutes.  Encourage patient to blink while flushing the eye. Do not force the eyelid open.

SWALLOWED MEDICINE – Do not give anything by mouth until calling for advice

CHEMICAL OR HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS – Unless patient is unconscious, having convulsions, or cannot swallow – give a small amount of water. Then call for professional advice to find out if patient should be made to vomit. Do NOT induce vomiting unless recommended by your physician or the Poison Center.

 INHALED – Immediately get patient to fresh air. Avoid breathing fumes. Open doors and windows.   If victim is not breathing, call for help and start assisted (mouth-to-mouth) breathing.

SKIN – Remove contaminated clothing and flood skin with water for 15 minutes.  Then wash gently with soap and water and rinse. 

Source:  California Poison Control System

 These are especially hazardous household items.

 Make sure they are always out of a child’s reach. 

  • Antifreeze
  • Windshield washer solutions
  • ALL medicines
  • Drain cleaners
  • Toilet bowl cleaners
  •  Paint and paint thinner
  • Insecticides
  • Artificial nail removers
  • Miniature/watch batteries
  • Topical anesthetics (i.e. Products that may be used for sunburn pain)


This is also available as a PDF  and in Spanish  

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