Parents spend a lot of time making sure their homes are safe, which they absolutely should. Common areas that are modified are electrical outlets, heavy furniture, and stairs. I’m thrilled to be partnering with our sponsor, the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), to take a look at an often-overlooked room – the laundry room.
There are a few areas of concern when it comes to making sure that the laundry room is as safe as it can be. The first is the washing machine. Most parents my age never really worried about this, as the opening of the washer was always on the top, out of the way of small children. With the popularity of front-loading high-efficiency washers, we are hearing more and more cases of kids getting themselves locked in front load washers. Make sure that your washer either has a childproof lock built into it or add one.
A second concern is lint building up in the vent. Laundry room fires are actually quite common and can be easily prevented with a little maintenance. Most parents know to empty the lint trap each time you use the dryer, but don’t stop there. Periodically, check the spot where the vent exits your house. Ours has a grid to keep animals from finding a warm home there in the winter and can occasionally build up with lint. You should also pull the dryer out from the wall periodically and check to see if there is lint or dust build up behind the machine
While hoses may not pose an immediate threat to your family’s safety, a burst hose can cause a flood, which brings with it a whole other bunch of issues including potential mold. The Good Housekeeping Research Institute Home Appliances and Cleaning Products department recommends replacing rubber hoses with reinforced braided ones to prevent a hose from cracking, bursting and potential flooding. After a friend of ours had this happen, we decided to replace our hoses with metal ones.
The next two issues are ones that are also unique to this generation as our own parents had fewer choices of how their laundry detergent was delivered – either liquid or powder. These days, detergent often comes in attractive and interesting looking liquid laundry packets. I myself love these packets because of their ease of use. However, they can pose a serious threat to young children and pets.
Try to resist the urge to make your laundry area “Pinterest pretty” – DO NOT take detergents out of their original packaging and place them in clear glass canisters or other decorative holders. Manufacturers are making great strides in creating packaging that is harder for little fingers to get into. (Heck, sometimes even I have a hard time opening them when I’m in a hurry.) The packaging also contains the safety information that is important to have on-hand in case of an emergency.
But the best deterrent for kids is eliminating their access to liquid laundry packets by ALWAYS storing them up high and out of reach. An accident can happen in an instant and children are naturally curious. It is also natural for children to want to explore items with their mouths, but in the case of laundry detergent and other cleaning products, this is extremely problematic.
ACI recognizes the need for education around the storage of liquid laundry packets and created the Packets UP! initiative to help reduce the number of children exposed to liquid laundry packets. ACI has been working with public safety officials and consumer groups since 2013 to help educate parents and manufacturers to help create packaging and labeling that will cut down on accidents
What can you do???
You can help reduce the number of accidental liquid laundry packet exposures in children by keeping laundry packets up and out of reach of young children and reminding friends and family members to do the same. Get in the habit of always closing detergent containers securely and putting them up and away when not in use. Place a cling in your laundry room to remind yourself and others to be safe.
You can visit PacketsUp.com for more information and tools to help prevent exposures.
You can also watch the Through Their Eyes video to understand how to keep toddlers safe by seeing the world from their perspective.