Toddlers and Chemical Burns – What Parents Should Know

As any parent can attest, toddlers can be quite a handful; when they’re not crying for milk, they might be fiddling around with dangerous objects. One such product that causes numerous problems for young children is household cleaners.

Looking at the Data

According to a 2016 report, household cleaning products are responsible for frequent eye burns among toddlers. In fact, for one-year old infants, the report found that eye-injury rates were 150% greater than the highest injury rates for working-age adults.

Using data collected from 900 hospitals in the United States, the study authors found that cleaner-induced eye injuries among toddlers most commonly occurred at home. In terms of socio-economic backgrounds, the team noted that children from lower-income families had the greatest risk of suffering chemical-related eye damage.

The Problem with Alkaline

The team was not able to identify the chemical culprit in each case of injury. However, when the responsible chemical could be identified, it was determined that alkaline burns were more common than burns caused by acid. Alkaline can be found in wide range of popular household products, including oven cleaners, drain cleaners and chlorine bleach. Such cleaners can inflict severe damage to the eyes, as they burn even after contact, potentially leading to blindness.

Safer Storage

The report’s senior author, Dr. R. Sterling Haring, offered some sage advice to parents concerned about their children’s eyesight. Haring contends that cleaners should be stored “in a lockable cabinet out of reach” of small children. If the cleaner has a spray nozzle, it should be locked into the “off” position. If these precautions fail and a child sustains an eye burn, Haring advises parents to run tap water over the damage eye for a prolonged period of time.

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