Families in Stoke-on-Trent are being urged by to take action to protect their children from the risks of household cleaning products.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) backed campaign, "Take Action Today, Put Them Away", is being funded by the UK Cleaning Products Industry Association (UKCPI).
The scheme was launched yesterday at the Whitfield Valley Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.
It follows the programme's success in many areas of the UK including Birmingham, Liverpool, King’s Lynn, Nottingham, Newcastle, Bradford, Lincolnshire, Warwickshire and Northern Ireland, with over 300,000 families reached, according to the charity.
In Stoke-on-Trent, the trend in hospital admissions for poisoning among under-fives has been better than other areas in the region over the past five years, according to Hospital Episodes Statistics (HES) data published by Public Health England.
RoSPA says it wants to keep it that way and protect the area's most vulnerable families.
As part of the campaign, a handy magnetic notepad featuring key safety advice will be handed out to thousands of families by health visitors and children’s centre staff to help prevent poisoning and eye injuries.
Ashley Martin, RoSPA’s 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.”
Deborah Merrill, specialist health visitor for young parents with Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The health visiting service here in Stoke-on-Trent is passionate about supporting our families in keeping their children safe.
"Promoting the key messages with families about accident prevention is a fundamental part of our role and we focus on this at every contact with families.
"After reading about the positive impact that this project has had in other areas, we were keen to implement it here, with the aim of reducing accidents and admissions to hospital from poisoning for our under-fives.
"Chell Area Family Action Group (CAFAG) has supported us with the initial roll out of the project, and we’re hoping that other agencies will work in partnership with us to deliver the key messages.”
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.”
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.
Further information on the Take Action Today campaign can be found at www.rospa.com