Read the label, be careful

Amitai urges the public to be especially careful with liquid drain cleaners, and never to mix bleach with acids. Such combinations, he said, can cause a blinding explosion or toxic vapors that can trigger asthma attacks, cause shortness of breath and even lung damage, especially in small rooms with poor ventilation, such as bathrooms. Never transfer cleaning materials to empty food containers. In addition, be careful of cleaning fluids that look like fruit syrup or smell like perfume and can easily be confused.

Amitai advises parents to be extra cautious when cleaning out the medicine chest before Passover, ensuring that drugs taken out of the cabinet do not end up in the hands of youngsters. For parents with infants and toddlers, never leave pails full of water or cleaning fluid on the floor, he says.

If a child accidentally ingests cleaning material or kerosene, do not instigate vomiting, he cautions: Dilute the poison by giving water or milk and call a doctor or poison control center immediately.