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Has doing laundry become routine for you? If so, The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) encourages you to consider the importance of laundry safety, especially as it relates to the new single-load liquid laundry packets. As with all cleaning products, we should know that laundry detergents should be handled with care and stored out of reach and sight of children. The compact size and concentration of single-load packets has manufacturers joining together to emphasize the importance of safe practices to avoid harmful exposure to children and adults from this convenient, new product.laundry

The single-load packets should be handled and stored carefully to avoid harmful exposure to children, adults, or pets. These new products can be fascinating to children and a temptation they can’t resist playing with or eating. The concentrated detergent can be harmful if swallowed or exposed to the eyes, causing vomiting, wheezing, and chemical burns. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends following these safety practices:

• Do not let children handle laundry packets.
• Store out of sight and reach of children, if you don’t already have one consider adding a cupboard or shelf above your washer.
• Ensure re-closable bag or container is tightly sealed during storage.
• Store away from moisture – packets quickly dissolve upon contact with water, wet hands, or saliva.
• If the single-load liquid laundry packets become stuck together, do not pull them apart; throw them away.
• Do not cut, tear or puncture the single-load liquid laundry packets. They are designed to dissolve completely in the machine, even in cold water.
• As with other laundry products, keep packets in their original container with intact labels.
• Do not squeeze – packets can rupture, releasing contents into eyes.
• If you think a child has been exposed to a single-load liquid laundry packet, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
• Don’t forget these guidelines also relate to the similar packets used in dishwashers.

There are things you can do today – and everyday – to ensure your laundry routine is as safe as possible. Start right now by taking the KEY pledge to follow ACI’s simple steps to a safe laundry room and routine:

Keep single-load liquid laundry packets out of the reach of children
Educate your family and friends about the safe use and storage of these new laundry products
You serve a key role in laundry safety

Go to: http://www.cleaninginstitute.org/clean_living/take_the_pledge.aspx to take the ACI pledge and select to be entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win a $2,500 grand prize to help makeover your laundry room!

Other resources from the ACI include:

Downloadable Laundry Room Safety Checklist:
http://www.cleaninginstitute.org/assets/1/Page/Laundry_Room_Checklist.pdf

Downloadable Safe Laundry Room Practices Poster:
http://www.cleaninginstitute.org/assets/1/Page/Safe_Laundry_Practices.pdf

Resources: American Cleaning Institute, http://www.cleaninginstitute.org/

Author: Polly Loy, Family & Consumer Science Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Belmont County, Buckeye Hills EERA, loy.1@osu.edu.
Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, Ohio Valley EERA, barlage.7@osu.edu.

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As the school year comes to a close, many parents are faced with the task of finding child care for the summer or deciding if they should take a chance and let their children stay home alone for the first time. Whether for a few minutes or a few hours, all parents will face the dilemma-is my child old enough to stay home alone? Many state or local laws, do not list a specific minimum age. Instead, like the Ohio Revised Code, say that parents are responsible for providing proper care and supervision for their children. So, the real question isn’t so much one of age, but one of your child’s maturity and readiness and your ability to plan for safety, emergencies and activities. There is no magic age at which children develop the maturity and good sense needed to stay alone. However, there are some signs that your child may be ready.

First, your child should indicate a desire and willingness to stay alone. Children who are easily frightened or who don’t want to stay alone are probably not ready to do so. Your child should also be showing signs that he or she can be responsible, is aware of the needs of others, and can think about options and make decisions independently. Children who are able to get ready for school on time, solve problems on their own, complete homework and household chores with a minimum of supervision, and remember to tell you where they are going, have some of the skills they will need to care for themselves. For many children, these abilities begin to appear between the ages of ten and twelve.
If your child shows these signs, you may want to consider letting your child stay home alone. However, you must also think about several other factors. These are:
-The neighborhood in which you live
-The availability of adults nearby
-How long your child will be alone

If your neighborhood is unsafe, if there are no adults nearby to call in case of an emergency, or if your child must remain alone for a very long time, it is best to continue to use some form of child care even if your child seems ready to stay alone. Remember, children, like adults are all different. Some are more independent than others, and some are more fearful, despite your care and preparation.

If you and your child decide that you are ready to stay home alone, the next step is giving your child some guidelines, knowledge, and training. Involve your children in decisions and discussions that affect them. If children understand the reasons for the rules and participate in developing rules, they are more likely to follow them.

For more tips and information on this topic, check out the complete OSU Extension fact sheet at http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5321.pdf

Source:
Adapted from Ohio State University Extension Factsheet, HYG-5321-10, Home Alone: Is My Child Old Enough? http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5321.pdf

Author: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County.

Reviewer: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County

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