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Freeze out dangers to children
As temperatures drop this winter, it’s important that you look after your vehicle. That means making sure that it’s topped up with antifreeze and windscreen wash.
The sweet smell of danger
Although antifreeze is vital, it can pose a serious danger to small children. A recent spate of pet poisonings in England already this winter, has highlighted the toxic potential of antifreeze.
While antifreeze may not smell or look poisonous, this is deceptive. Ethylene Glycol, the active ingredient in antifreeze, has a highly appealing aroma and a delicious sweet taste. But as little as two teaspoons can be fatal to small children.
That’s why it’s important that you don’t store antifreeze in any receptacle other than its original container, with its child-resistant cap.
This is also good advice where homeowners are not used to having small children around the property, when grandchildren visit, for example. A sweet tasting, lovely smelling liquid in a soft drink bottle or a jam jar is clearly a recipe for disaster.
As always with child safety, the best way to protect children from the dangers of antifreeze is adopt more than one safety measure. First, the solution should always be in its original container, with the child-proof cap screwed down tight.
While the child-resistant cap on the original container may provide some measure of safety, it cannot provide guaranteed protection for children. According to the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT), many 3 – 4 year olds are able to open a child-resistant cap after only a few seconds of trying.
You should also make sure that the product is stored at height, away from where any child could reach it. And remember the ingenuity and resourcefulness of toddler. They enjoy a challenge.
Third line of defence
The final line of defence is the knowledge that a product protected with Bitrex will prove almost impossible for a child to swallow. Even the naturally sweet taste of automotive antifreeze is no match for the bitterest substance in the world.
Education provides one of the most effective ways to protect children from poisoning. All children should understand the risks of tasting anything that they cannot identify as food no matter what it looks, smells or tastes like.