Your guide to danger-free laundry room

Having kids help with the laundry can be quality family time, and teaching them to sort and wash empowers them with lifelong skills. But part of showing children how to do the laundry also involves educating them about the dangers lurking in the laundry room.  We’ve developed a list of 5 easy ways you can keep kids safe while helping with this household chore.

Storing laundry detergent and other products

Some of the most dangerous items in a laundry room are laundry detergents, pretreaters and other chemicals, including bleach. The best way to keep these products away from small, curious hands is to simply store them either up high and out of children’s reach or behind locked cabinet doors. Be sure to keep all cleaning products in their original, child-resistant containers, and keep all labels attached.

Using liquid laundry pods

One of the newest dangers is colorful liquid laundry pods, which little ones may think are fun, fruity treats. While very effective at cleaning your laundry, these concentrated chemicals can be more harmful to children than typical detergents. If you have children 6 years or younger living in or visiting your home, it’s best to stick with traditional liquid or powder detergents. But if you choose to use laundry packets, don’t let kids of any age play with them because they start dissolving when they come into contact with water, including wet hands, sweat and saliva. And, best practice says not to take a packet out of the container until you’re ready to use it.

Pretreating laundry

When trying to get tough stains out, you naturally turn to a pretreater. Make sure that once you apply the pretreater to the fabric that you keep the treated item out of the reach of children so they can’t come into contact with anything potentially harmful.

Making a mess

If you have a spill, clean it up right away. In the meantime, keep children away from the affected area. And be sure to wash your hands and anything you used to clean the spill immediately and thoroughly.

Lock your washer and dryer

Kids love to climb and discover new places to hide. Laundry machines should not be on their list of places to explore. Use specially-designed child locks to keep them out of front-loading washers and dryers. If you have a door to your laundry room, keep it locked when you’re not inside.

Other laundry room safety resources

Before you let your kids help with the laundry, teach them about potential dangers. Explain to them that detergents and other products are not food and that the containers are not toys.

Know what to do in case the unthinkable happens. Familiarize yourself with the labels on laundry care products before using them. The labels contain valuable first aid information and other safety instructions. And, keep the Poison Control hotline number (1-800-222-1222) posted prominently in the laundry room in case you ever need to make the call.