AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University Extension specialists found 185 different chemical products stored in 60 child care facilities in a survey this winter. Most of the chemicals were labeled as dangerous to children. The chemicals included multipurpose cleansers, disinfectants, air fresheners, sanitizers, bug sprays, moth repellants, polishes, floor cleaners and carpet shampoos.
“We want to help child care providers protect children from poisoning, whether in a child care center or in a home child care setting. Selecting the appropriate chemicals, storing them correctly and using them safely are key responsibilities for child care staff,” said Lesia Oesterreich, ISU Extension family life specialist.
More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the 61 Poison Control Centers across the country. The majority of non-fatal poisonings occur in children younger than six years old. Some of the most dangerous poison exposures are pesticides and cleaning products according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
“To help child care providers, we developed three posters as educational aids and reminders to practice safe use of all chemicals in child care sites,” said Mark Shour, ISU Extension pest management and environment program specialist. “We want to concentrate on preventive measures than can help keep children safe.”
ISU Extension received a grant from the Iowa Department of Human Services to create the posters. The colorful 18 inch by 24 inch posters are laminated so they can be posted on cupboard doors or other prominent places.
The set of three posters is designed to help increase awareness of chemicals and to improve the safe use and storage of these products. The first poster addresses the importance of reading product labels. The second poster concentrates on the safe use of chemical products. The third poster lists the proper steps to solve a pest problem keeping chemical safety in mind.
Each poster could be the basis for a staff in-service training on chemical safety.
“Reading and understanding the label of a chemical product is a key to safeguarding children,” Shour said. “Providers need to understand each section of a chemical label, such as the active ingredients, the signal word, first aid, storage and disposal, and more.”
For more information on pest management in child care facilities, including online chemical safety training, visit http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/childcare/home.
The set of three posters (SP 0316) may be ordered for a $9.38 handling and postage charge from the ISU Extension Online Store, https://www.extension.iastate.edu/store/, or picked up free at ISU Extension Distribution Center, Kooser Drive on the Iowa State University campus in Ames.
Lynette Spicer, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-1327, firstname.lastname@example.org