A study in the September 2010 issue of Pediatrics (published online on August 2), examined cases in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database of children treated for injuries related to a variety of cleaning products, including drain cleaners, ammonia, dishwasher detergents, swimming pool chemicals, laundry soap, bleach, toilet bowl products, abrasive cleaners, room deodorizers, and general-purpose cleaners. In 1990—the first year the study looked at—22,141 children age 5 and younger were treated for cleaning chemical injuries. By 2006, this number had decreased 46 percent to 11,964 injuries.
Bleach was the number one product associated with injuries, most likely because it is a product found in most homes. According to the study's findings, children aged 1 to 3 years, who are naturally curious and like to put things in their mouths, were the most likely to come in contact with cleaning chemicals—accounting for 72 percent of injuries. Products were typically ingested, most commonly from a spray bottle.
To help prevent injury from cleaning chemicals, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests storing poisonous substances in locked cabinets, out of sight and reach of children, buying products with child-resistant packaging, keeping products in their original containers, and properly disposing of leftover or unused products.
Made the switch to all-natural cleaning products? It's still important follow safety precautions. While the ingredients may be nontoxic, accidental ingestion is still cause for concern.