laundry room entrance

It's National Baby Safety Month, which is a great time to look around your house and make sure it’s as safe as possible for your little ones! It seems a little ironic that this is the month we'd choose to start a slow remodel of our kitchen, but here we are. Shelving is being moved, storage is being shuffled around and in the transition, our laundry room has become what I refer to as “the danger zone.” I see all these sweet laundry spaces on Pinterest. People have high cabinets and long tables for folding. Everything is up and away and the space is filled with beautiful crisp whites and pops of color.

Our laundry room looks nothing like that right now.

danger zone at home

Many families have a storage area that looks something like this – whether it's the guest room where everything gets stashed “for later” (you know what I'm talking about), the messy garage or the disorderly office. The laundry space is a prime target for dangerous disarray, because people think of it as a “bonus area” that isn't highly-trafficked. Truth is, kids are prone to exploring these areas more than you'd think. The quiet, cluttered spaces seem fun and mysterious to them. I've had to lock this room off from the kids completely, because during the remodeling, the storage situation is totally out of hand.

Consider this a safety guide in reverse: what not to do. Don't keep household cleaning products in low spaces. Don't store medication in unsecured cabinets. Don't lean heavy ironing boards precariously against walls and definitely do NOT have plastic bags where kids can access them.

not safe for kids

Don't keep cabinets unsecured and filled with breakable items that could fall and hurt someone.

laundry safety

Never leave household items around that kids may ingest including single-load liquid laundry packets, mouthwash, toothpaste, bath salts. Sometimes parents don't think twice about these everyday household items until one of our children discovers them on their own.  You should do everything you can to prevent this – store them up high, out of reach and sight.

Since single-load liquid laundry packets hit store shelves, more and more parents have been using them.  However, you need to know each packet contains highly concentrated detergent and should be treated like any other household cleaning product.  If not safely stored, the laundry packets can attract dangerous interest from young children leading to injury from ingestion or exposure to the eyes.

The ACI is asking you to take the KEY Pledge and acknowledge that you are the KEY to a safe laundry room and routine. Keep single-load liquid laundry packets up and away from children – out of reach and sight, and remind friends and family about the safe use and storage of single-load liquid laundry packets. If your laundry room looks like mine, do what we're doing and assess the risks. Lock off that “danger zone” and proactively work to make the whole home a safe space.

You are the key to keeping children safe.

Be the Key

Take the pledge to be the KEY to a safe laundry room and routine at keypledge.com and you’ll be automatically entered to win a $2,500 gift card to makeover your laundry room.*. And don’t forget to follow ACI’s simple safety steps to ensure your family’s laundry safety.

You can even check pledge progress in your state on the KEY Pledge Map. California has a lot of pledges so far. Come on guys, let's get the word out!

How do you create safer spaces for your children facing the “danger zone” at home?

**NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  Ends on December 31, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. ET.  Open to legal residents of 50 U.S. and DC, 21 and  older. Void where prohibited.  For Official Rules, go to http://www.cleaninginstitute.org/clean_living/sweepstakes.aspx.