Articles > Full Listing >Four Seasons 3 - Poisoning Hazards For Spring
Printer friendly version

Four Seasons 3 - Poisoning Hazards For Spring

Four Seasons 3 - Poisoning Hazards For Spring

After a long cold winter, many people begin their spring cleaning. Spring is also the time when new plants and mushrooms begin to grow and when people start preparing and planting vegetable and flower gardens. The arrival of warmer weather means children playing outdoors and they may be more difficult to supervise.

Spring Cleaning
Painting
Gardens
Spring Festivities
Medication

Spring Cleaning

Many household chemicals are used in spring cleaning including bleaches, disinfectants, floor and tile cleaners, and glass cleaners. Many are potentially dangerous if ingested or splashed onto skin or into the eyes.

  • It is very important not to mix bleach, or products containing bleach, with any other household cleaners as a chemical reaction can release toxic gases.
  • While spring cleaning never leave a cleaning product open and unattended.
  • Read the product label and use according to the manufacturers directions. Ensure cleaning products are stored up high and out of childrens reach and keep them in their original containers with original labels.

Painting

With spring many people brighten up the paint work around their houses. Some painting products such as oil based paints, paint thinners, and turpentine can be harmful. Old homes may have lead based paint, and sanding can lead to inhalation of lead dust by family members.

  • Ensure children are supervised when painting, keep all products in their original containers, and put any chemicals straight back in their place of storage after use.
  • If you are renovating and old home, check the paint is not lead-based. Your Local Health protection Unit can test the paint and provide advice for safe renovation.

Gardens

Spring means lots of growth in the garden, planting and preparing. Poisonous plants, fertilisers, herbicides, insecticides and fuel for lawn-mowers present common hazards to children, pets, and wildlife.

  • It is important to utilise adequate safety methods when storing, applying or disposing of garden products and their containers.
  • Wear protective clothing when using garden sprays and do not apply them on windy days. Be careful to ensure childrens toys, sandboxes, bikes or pet food dishes are not sprayed.
  • Fertilisers can irritate the skin and stomach if ingested. After applying fertiliser, make sure the ground is watered thoroughly before letting children on the area. Otherwise, ensure children and pets stay off the area for a few days or until it rains.
  • Spring is a good time to learn the names of new and existing plants in your garden, so that the correct information can be given if poisoning should occur.
  • Any wild mushroom growing in the garden should be regarded as poisonous and should be removed as they sprout.
  • Children should be encouraged to enjoy the plants in the garden without eating them. It is advisable to have plants that are poisonous out of reach of children.
  • If petrol is ingested, or petrol vapours inhaled, it can make you very sick. When swallowed, it is very easy for petrol to go down the wrong way which can cause lung problems. Petrol can also damage the eyes if not treated quickly.

Spring Festivities

At spring events glow sticks/bangles/necklaces are popular with children. Sometimes these products break and children will get the liquid on their skin, in their eyes or mouth. It is not very harmful but may cause stinging and burning to the eyes and skin and if swallowed it may cause an upset stomach.

Guy Fawkes Night is a spring event where poisoning can occur. Certain fireworks contain chlorates, which can cause the blood to be unable to carry oxygen. If eaten, these fireworks can be very dangerous in children.

  • Ensure all used fireworks are collected and disposed of responsibly.

Medication

In spring many people develop hay fever (sneezing, runny nose and itching eyes) from the pollen of all the new flowers. People suffering from hay fever use medications such as antihistamines to control these symptoms.

  • Where possible, request child-resistant caps for medicines and keep them out of reach of children.


Related Resources
National Poisons Centre: Poisonous Plants in New Zealand - A National Poisons Centre brochure detailing poisonous plant information as well as first aid and prevention information
Plants That Poison - A New Zealand Guide - A colourful, informative and easy-to-use book every NZ home should have
Poisonous Mushrooms associated with trees in NZ - A poster of poisonous mushrooms that are associated with trees in New Zealand.
Prevent Poisoning: Keeping Children Safe From Poisons - A brochure on general poisoning prevention information including home safety tips
Some poisonous mushrooms found in open places - A poster of poisonous mushrooms that are found in open places in New Zealand.


Printer friendly version
 
University of Otago NZ National Poisons Centre


Last updated 12/04/2011



All information on this site is subject to a disclaimer.