Toddlers And Spray Bottles Full Of Bleach Are An Irresistible Combination

Know what toddlers love? Spray bottles full of bleach. A new study shows that despite the fact that injuries from household cleaning products have decreaed by almost half since 1990 — spray bottle injuries are remaining steady. The most common product to injure kids under 6? Bleach.

From BusinessWeek:

Bleach was the cleaning product most commonly associated with injury (37.1 percent), and the most common type of storage container involved was a spray bottle (40.1 percent). In fact, although rates of injuries from bottles with caps and other types of containers decreased during the study period, spray bottle injury rates remained constant, the researchers reported.

One of the problems? Cleaners look like sports drinks. So what should you do about it? Don’t leave your pretty spray bottles full of poison laying around. Lock them up and keep them out of sight.

Household Spray Cleaners Pose Greatest Danger to Toddlers [BusinessWeek]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Alvis says:

    “One of the problems? Cleaners look like sports drinks.”

    Umm… the easier lesson to impart seems to be “never drink out of a spray bottle”

  2. Dyscord says:

    Cleaners look like sports drinks? How many sports drinks you know have a spray bottle?

    Keeping cleaners locked up is a good tip, but kids should know better by then. Bleach is usually clearly labeled.

    • Blueberry Scone says:

      “Bleach is usually clearly labeled. “

      Yes, but as this study looks at the under-six group, I don’t think it matters if it’s labeled or not.

  3. pantheonoutcast says:

    How exactly does bleach look like a “sports drink”? And if you’re talking about Windex, kids under six shouldn’t be drinking anything that’s bright blue in the first place, so they would never even get a chance to make the association that “blue = beverage.”

  4. Polish Engineer says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong here, but I’ve never seen a Powerade with a sprayer on it…. I could see the argument that the similarity was the problem if it was the capped bottles were the bigger offender, because Windex does look like Mountain Blast.

  5. The_Legend says:

    Kids don’t have a chance these days with spray bottles. First Evamist, now bleach…

  6. babyruthless says:

    In high school I worked at Six Flags. There was a bit during training about not having water fights with the spray bottles. Because this one time, the bottle was full of bleach, not water. And a guy (one of the employees who was fighting) got a facefull of bleach.

  7. Random Guy on the Internet says:

    A new study shows that despite the fact that injuries from household cleaning products have decreaed by almost half since 1990

    You guys may want to change “decreaed” to decreased…

  8. thekevinmonster says:

    I have witnessed someone’s toddler, upon being left to wander around the room I was in (a basement of someone’s house during a family-friend work gathering) immediately gravitate towards the Box Of Very Dangerous Cleaning Supplies as if he was going to start opening the bottles and play with their contents. There might as well have been a magnet in the box designed to attract toddlers. I was a bit surprised, not having children myself. Now, nothing happened as this was totally in plain sight. However, if the parent had been looking away for a few more moments longer, something could have happened.

    It’s like swimming pools. If there is a pool, and a toddler, and you are not literally staring at your toddler the entire time, the toddler will go near the pool and fall in. If it’s an above-ground pool, they will find a way to climb into it even if it would be difficult for a toddler to do. It’s kind of like how a cat _will_ sit on newspaper or anything that crinkles, or _will_ climb into any box placed on the floor, except that’s funny and this isn’t.

    • haggis for the soul says:

      Yeah. Little kids seem to have some kind of innate radar for the things that will kill them the hardest.

  9. RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

    For those of you saying they don’t look like sports drinks, yes, the nozzle is different, and no, they’re not colored the same. But a lot of spray bottles aren’t clear. You can buy empty ones of every color in the rainbow, and a toddler may not be savvy enough to think “hey, that nozzle is different than what I’m used to”.

    The overall bottle shape is what attracts them.

    • erinpac says:

      So the nozzle looking different means they look like sport drinks? Or that they aren’t clear (most sport drink bottles are)? Or?

      I don’t think anyone was saying kids won’t play with cleaner bottles; just that the sentence that the sprayers look like sport drinks makes no sense.

  10. CaptCynic says:

    What if the problem isn’t that our cleaners look like sports drinks, but that our sports drinks look like cleaners?

  11. Big Mama Pain says:

    Toddlers are really good at just trying to end it all.

    • creative differences says:

      hahahahahahahahaaaaa -gasp- hahahahahahahahahaaaa!!! oh, the existential angst of the under-5 set!

  12. evnmorlo says:

    Conclusive evidence that bleach should be banned. Maybe a few people can get licenses for bottles that can spray only once, but really it is too dangerous for our children and civilized society.

  13. parv says:

    It is intoxicating smell of clean, I tell you!

    … well, at least for less than a minute, after which comes headache, and with burning eyes if enjoyed in excess.

  14. Sian says:

    Are kids today just stupider or far more delicate than when I was one?

    I’ve never heard of anyone getting even nearly killed by a drawstring hoodie before last year.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      Back then, kids did get killed by all the same things as they they do now, and then some; lots of products that used to kill kids are packaged more safely today.

      You didn’t hear about it because: 1 – you were a kid, and 2 – the news media only carried local news of this sort, if even that.

    • Garbanzo says:

      Kids aren’t more delicate these days. People are just less willing to accept letting them die, and take more precautions. claims that the US child accident death rate dropped by more than half from 1960 to 1990.

  15. stefc says:

    I am a bit lackadaisical about locking up my cabinets, but then I just use white vinegar to clean just about everything. I figure if my toddler drank a bottle of vinegar she might get sick, but she won’t die. Too many parents are sold on the bleach = clean philosophy, but don’t know that white vinegar does just as good a job and is a whole lot less toxic.

  16. JamieSueAustin says:

    Kids love spray bottles. Of anything. It doesn’t take a study to prove that. Doesn’t matter what is IN the bottle, they love to spray stuff.

  17. IMoriarty says:

    I can’t figure out why you’d need bleach in a spray bottle to begin with, let alone why it’s be out visible to a toddler. Cleaning supplies go under the kitchen sink, or is that just me?


    • Conformist138 says:

      Just under the sink? Normal cupboard doors that swing open and closed so easily?

      Can’t imagine how a child might find that. Actually, my best friend’s toddler just did that exact thing, within 30 seconds she’d noticed the gate to the kitchen was ajar and had psycically linked herself to that cupboard. Why she wanted that one with the cleaners and not the pots and pans is a mystery.

      (Seriously, people, childproof all cupboards, it’s not hard. Even though you won’t like how difficult it can be for even an adult to open them, it’s a small price to pay to know you won’t have to explain away your kid drinking all the Windex by insisting it just looked too much like kool-aid)

    • haggis for the soul says:

      Bleach in a spray bottle is good for cleaning grout and hard to reach places.

  18. dg says:

    Sounds like Darwin was right to me…

    How about “Be a damn parent and watch your spawn?” or “Expect the unexpected with your spawn and imbecile proof the house?” Lock that shit up in a cabinet somehow – there’s no end to the amount of locks offered by vendors – all designed to keep rug rats out of things… They might actually work for toddlers.

    If yours is extremely adept at opening things, but still moronic enough to drink/spray them – then get a long bicycle chain and a U-bolt lock and secure the stuff…

  19. crazydavythe1st says:

    Spray bottles of bleach in general are just a bad idea. At heavy concentrations, the bleach can damage the spray mechanism, and at low concentrations bleach breaks down into salt water and eventually loses its cleaning properties