Media Release


Kitchen and Laundry Sinks can be Deadly for Kids



Kidsafe cautioned that underneath the kitchen and laundry sink can be a major danger area for young children, as a range of household cleaners are often stored there.


Kidsafe Victoria has partnered with Monash Medical Centre to launch an awareness campaign around the issue. They are calling for all parents to conduct an audit on what is stored under their kitchen sink and identify items that could poison their children.

In 2011, 299 children aged 0-14 years were admitted to hospital and a further 561 presented to emergency departments as a result of poisoning.

President of Kidsafe Victoria, Robert Caulfield said, "Most incidents occur due to unsupervised access. This can occur when poisons are left out or not stored in a safe place, out of reach of children."

Mr Caulfield noted that while hospital admission and emergency department presentations for child poisoning were lower than for other causes of injury, in 2012 the Victorian Poisons Information Centre received 18,041 calls about exposure to a poisoning involving children aged 0-14 years.

Dr Adam West, Director of Emergency Paediatric Medicine at Monash Children's Hospital said, "It's important for parents to remember that even everyday cleaning products are often very toxic."

"We see a number of children every year who have ingested cleaning products and the consequences can be severe, particularly for younger children," Dr West said.

Mr Caulfield advised that, "Household cleaning products such as bleach, disinfectants, detergents, toilet bowl cleaners, eucalyptus oil plus pesticides, including insecticides, rodenticides and herbicides are of major concern."

"Parents should remember that child resistant containers are not child proof - they are designed to be difficult for children to open, but not impossible."

"Store all poisonous products out of sight and reach of children, at least 1.5 metres off the ground in a lockable cupboard. Ensure that medications and chemicals are stored in separate safe areas."

Kidsafe Victoria has released a FREE safety fact sheet on its website at for parents to print out and place on their fridge door as a constant reminder of the steps to take to protect their children from poisoning.

What to do if you think your child has ingested a poisonous substance:
  • Never try to induce vomiting.
  • Pick up the product container and take it with you to the phone - the Poisons Information Centre will want to know what ingredients are in the product.
  • Phone the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 (24 hours a day, Australia wide). They will then advise you on what to do next.

  • Media Enquiries:
    Ron Smith, Corporate Media Communications, Kidsafe Victoria - Mobile: 0417 329 201