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NSW Fire Brigades urges families: keep chemicals out of reach of children

Published: 1st June 2006

In the wake of a recent incident involving young children playing with insecticide in a Central Coast playground, Superintendent Keith King, NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) Zone Commander for the Central Coast, has urged parents and carers to keep household chemicals out of reach of children.

“If you have young children, keep chemicals secure and out of reach and leave them in their original containers, so your kids don’t mistake them for a drink or food,” Superintendent King said.

In the incident last Saturday, three children were spotted playing with insecticide on playground equipment at Bardot Park in Kariong near Gosford. A local resident called out to the children who ran away as a result. Local crews from the NSWFB decontaminated the play area.

“This incident reinforces the importance of keeping children away from chemicals that they pick up around the home or garage,” Superintendent King said.

“If these chemicals are stored, used or handled incorrectly, they can cause poisoning, injury and fire.”

Superintendent King said general household chemicals include caustic cleaning agents, pool chemicals, personal hygiene sprays, pesticides, solvents and fuel.

“There is no room for complacency when you’re dealing with dangerous substances, especially if you have young children.

“There are other simple precautions which families can take to prevent injury from chemicals:

  • Always read the labels. These will inform you of the product’s intended use and any dangerous properties;
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions – only use it for its intended purpose, use protective equipment as recommended, ensure there is adequate ventilation, only prepare the correct amount for the task;
  • Keep aerosol cans away from heat and out of direct sunlight;
  • Consider purchasing the least dangerous product for the task when there are children in the household.”

Further Information about the safe use and storage of household chemicals can be obtained from the NSWFB web site www.fire.nsw.gov.au.

Media contact: Ben Apple on (02) 9265 2631 or 0408 877 479.