What To Do If Your Kid Eats Toxic Household Cleaners


toxic household cleanerWould you know what to do if faced with an emergency at home? I Google everything, dumb things like how to bake a potato and how to open a Hatchimal. While in my frantic state I didn’t think to Google what to do. I didn’t think to Google “What to do if you child consumes barbeque cleaner.” So I wasted a few hours but got a good education in what to do if your child gets into toxic household cleaners.

Let me start off by say that good child proofing can help prevent an accident from happening.

Keep household cleaners and laundry products up and out of reach of small children. That said, toddlers are sneaky and sometimes parents get caught off guard and off their game.

I was having a very productive morning. I was working from the kitchen table and the kids were lounging and having breakfast in the living room. Everyone seemed content and quiet. Too quiet. I never thought quiet could ever be a bad thing especially in the company of toddler. But in 95% of my cases quiet means trouble. I turned around and noticed the baby-locked kitchen sink cabinets open and the majority of the front row items were missing. Totally my fault for leaving it unlocked.

I followed the trail of household cleaners to the living room.

There I found my almost two year old squealing in delight on the couch cushions while spraying BBQ cleaner like a Disneyland misting fan on a hot day.

He was drenched in it.

His hair, shirt, face, and mouth were all wet. I quickly undressed and rinsed him off and gave him water as he repeated “yucky spray.”

My first fear was confirmed. He consumed it.

But how much? I start to panic.

I called our doctor for advice and the receptionist suggested bring him in.

I made an appointment for later in the day and was advised to keep an eye on him. If he had any trouble breathing or signs of distress bring him to the emergency room. I took my toddler into the doctor’s office a few hours later and he seemed fine and normal.

They checked his vitals and the doctor asked me what Poison Control had said.

I was baffled. I didn’t even think to call Poison Control yet that solution was so practical. Our doctor apologized for not communicating that piece of information before coming down to his office. I was sent home and advised to call and keep an eye on my son.

I googled Poison Control. 800-222-1222. Easy enough.

The National Capital Poison Center offers a free valuable service 24 hours a day/ seven days a week.

You can search products and resources online or call and speak to an expert for free. The gal on the phone took down some information about my child and then searched the cleaner for harmful chemicals. 

While scanning the chemical list she made me aware of a few warning signs to look out for on my child: 

  • Skin irritation
  • Excessive drooling
  • Stomach pains
  • Trouble breathing

These could sometimes onset several hours later depending on the toxicity level of the chemicals in the product consumed. A few minutes later she confirmed that there wasn’t anything to harmful on the list of ingredients from the specific kind of barbeque cleaner my son had doused himself in. I asked her a few more questions and she said call back anytime.

The Poison Control hotline is a free resource and can generally save busy parents a trip to the doctor’s office if it’s not necessary.

I’m glad I got the peace of mind but will be prepared for the next toddler mishap.

For more information check out the National Capital Poison Control website. Review the list of harmful household products and make sure they are up out of reach and locked. I have relocated all of our cleaning and laundry products to a safer location out of toddler reach. Toddlers can’t be trusted.

Here are a couple helpful links from their website with tips by age:



I hope you never have to deal with a child ingesting potentially toxic household cleaners, but if you do, remember don’t panic, and if in doubt, call Poison Control!

toxic household cleaners

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Heather grew up in Northern California and migrated down to Southern California to attend Chapman University. After graduation she worked for the Angels Baseball Club, Anaheim Ducks and Quiksilver apparel company. While working for the Angels she met her husband Aaron and they have two sons Mason (5) and Chase (2). Heather is the owner of Purify Sauna Lounge in Anaheim Hills and stays home with her toddler sons. In her free time she enjoys yoga, pilates and long walks thru Target.