KINGSTON – Jamaican parents are being urged to keep harmful chemicals out of the reach of children, following a drastic spike in disinfectant poisoning among children in the United Sates as the world battles the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We too in Jamaica have to be mindful that we are using a lot of chemicals, because persons are buying bleach and other chemical agents that are used to sanitise the home,” said Gerald Miller, the Health Promotion and Education Officer at the Westmoreland Health Department.
Miller warned parents that ingesting sanitising products could result in damage to internal organs or death. He is also advising that proper storage is essential to prevent children from gaining access to these household substances.
“At this time when our children are at home and we will be having these chemicals around, we want parents to ensure that whenever you use a chemical and you are finished with it, to put it away out of the reach of children,” Miller told the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).
There had been a spike in the use of disinfections as a means of dealing with the virus after US President Donald trump hinted at the possibility of injecting the product into the body of persons who had tested positive for COVID-19.
Miller said that most of the children who ingest poisonous substances are usually under five years old, and that at this stage, children are naturally curious and want to explore their environment.
“We want parents to be extremely vigilant. I know it is difficult to have them at home, and when they are not engaged they can become very curious. We know children are curious and they are always exploring, especially the ones under five.
“Some of these disinfectants are very colourful and these things will attract the child… and that child may think it is something he or she can consume,” Miller said, warning against the excessive use of disinfectants when sanitising, as noxious fumes from bleach and other chemicals can be harmful to both adults and children.
Jamaica has so far recorded 463 cases of COVID-19 with eight deaths. (CMC)