Children’s Health
laundry detergent

How to Childproof Your Laundry Room

Keep all laundry products safe and secure

You know the obvious places to childproof your home: the kitchen, bathroom, garage. You protect kids by securing furniture so it doesn’t tip over, install safety gates for stairways, latch and lock cabinets and doors.

But don’t forget the laundry room. There are lots of appealing objects in there for little kids to play with — or even try to eat.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends storing all laundry products in original packaging, with their labels intact, in a high locked cabinet — NOT on top of the washer and dryer. I agree.

Childproofing checklist for a laundry room

Here are a few specific steps I recommend taking to childproof your laundry room:

  • Secure pre-wash and all other spray bottles. Kids love spray bottles. If you have them make sure to put them where they can’t be reached. Lock them up like any other chemicals.
  • Remove laundry scoops from the scene. Powdered detergents typically come with plastic scoops, which kids like to play with. Kids like to lick, too, which could lead to an ingestion of leftover powder on the scoop.
  • Be sure liquid detergents are out of sight. Liquid detergents can be colorful and look like something a child can drink. Remove the temptation.

Beware of the detergent pods

I’d especially emphasize making sure those new detergent pods are out of reach if you use them. They’re convenient, but very dangerous in the hands of a child, who can mistake them for candy.

The pods are colorful and attractive and a baby or toddler — or a child of any age — is going to look at them and think, “Hey, that looks like a gummy something.” If there’s an opportunity for your child to pop one in his mouth it can become a life-threatening situation.

Remember: Treat the laundry room as you would any area where you keep pesticides or other chemicals. Keep all laundry products out of reach of little hands.

Find more detergent safety tips from the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

Tags: child safety
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Deb Lonzer, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician and the Chair of the Department of Community Pediatrics for Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

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