Continued Early Childhood Education Phone: 866-727-1617


How Should I Store Hazardous Materials?

Charlotte Hendricks, PhD

June 15, 2020

Share:

Question

How should I store hazardous materials?

Answer

Any potentially hazardous product must be kept in its original container. We've mentioned this over and over again, but appropriate dilutions such as a bleach solution or other cleaning solution that has been approved must be in clearly labeled containers. These solutions should meet state licensing or Caring for Our Children regulatory standards.

Use a new pump spray bottle that is clean and hasn't been used for storing anything that was toxic. Don't reuse something else. Label it clearly and put the appropriate dilution in the bottle. This will change from state to state, and sometimes even depending on who is doing the inspection. I've seen cases where bleach solution that is properly made is allowed to be out of reach, but it's used when the children are present and it does not have to be locked away. However, I have also seen licensing inspectors come into a facility and say that it has to be locked up. If in doubt, ask your licensing inspector and follow the regulations for your center. Sometimes it's a little bit of a gray area as to what must be locked up and what must not.

Store those products in a locked storage room or cabinet and away from children's areas. The locked storage rooms and cabinets must have a combination, electronic or a magnetic device, key, or equivalent locking device. One Head Start program I visited was in a school and they stored things in the lockers that were in the hallway, so they were out of the children's area and had a combination lock. It was still accessible when they needed to get it, say before children came or after children left, to do cleaning, but it was completely away from the children. If it is a cabinet that's locked and it has a key to it, don't leave the key in the lock and don't hang the key right beside it. Keep the keys out of sight and out of reach. Other products labeled "Keep out of reach of children" without any other warnings must also be inaccessible to children. It's not saying they have to be locked, but they must be out of sight and out of reach.

Remember, out of sight and out of reach means that the children don't see it, therefore, they're not tempted to get it. Even if they are tempted, they can't reach it. A storage shelf or a cabinet must be at least five feet above the finished floor to be considered out of reach. Even if that cabinet has doors that you shut, for something to truly be out of sight and out of reach, it must be at least five feet above the finished floor. Also, there. cannot be access t the cabinet by furniture, ladders, toys, or any other objects. If you had a storage shelf that was mounted on the wall, but you had another little shelf below it, it's not five feet above the finished floor because a child could climb up on that shelf to get to the cabinet.

I saw a two-year-old that somehow managed to get on top of a Little Tikes truck. I don't know how he did it because nobody saw him do it. He was just pushing it along and the next thing you know, he is standing on top of it. Children are creative. They will push a toy or a chair or a little truck up to the wall, stand on it, and get to whatever it is they want to reach. 

This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the course, Avoiding Exposure to Hazardous Materials in ECE Settings, in partnership with Region 9 Head Start Association, by Charlotte Hendricks, PhD.


charlotte hendricks

Charlotte Hendricks, PhD

Dr. Charlotte Hendricks has promoted health education for young children, families, and teachers for over 30 years and pioneered curriculum development and evaluation for preschool health education. Nationally recognized as a leader in her field, her career has spanned public health, higher education, Head Start, and research. She often presents to early childhood programs and at state and national conferences, delivering high energy presentations to illustrate practical and cost-effective approaches to best practice, national standards, and issues facing today’s early childhood staff and families.

Charlotte served as Editor for Healthy CHILDCare magazine for 16 years and has published extensively, including HIP on Health®: Health Information for Caregivers and Families and Growing, Growing Strong: A Whole Health Curriculum for Young Children. Her latest book, Redleaf Quick Guide to Disaster Planning and Preparedness in Early Childhood and Schoolage Care Settings, exemplifies her ability to present essential information in an easy-to-follow format.


Related Courses

Disaster Preparedness for ECE Settings, in partnership with Region 9 Head Start Association
Presented by Charlotte Hendricks, PhD
Video

Presenter

Charlotte Hendricks, PhD
Course: #31541Level: IntroductorySubject Area: Planning a safe and healthy learning environment1 Hour
  'Very important information was giving'   Read Reviews
A disaster or emergency situation can occur anytime and anywhere, often without warning. Through this training, participants will explore potential disaster/emergency situations in early childhood programs and appropriate responses to those situations. This course is presented in partnership with Region 9 Head Start Association's Training West.

Administration of Medication in ECE Settings, in partnership with Region 9 Head Start Association
Presented by Charlotte Hendricks, PhD
Video

Presenter

Charlotte Hendricks, PhD
Course: #31542Level: IntroductorySubject Area: Planning a safe and healthy learning environment1 Hour
  'Easy to understand'   Read Reviews
Staff may be required to administer medication or treatment to a child in their care. Clear policies on giving medicines, both prescription or over-the-counter, can help staff meet children’s needs, communicate with families, and prevent mistakes. This course is presented in partnership with Region 9 Head Start Association's Training West.

Managing Food Allergies in ECE Settings, in partnership with Region 9 Head Start Association
Presented by Charlotte Hendricks, PhD
Video

Presenter

Charlotte Hendricks, PhD
Course: #31550Level: IntroductorySubject Area: Planning a safe and healthy learning environment1 Hour
  'Just a great reminder to check the labels especially from the cafeteria'   Read Reviews
About six percent of young children have a food allergy, and reactions can be severe or even life-threatening. All staff are responsible for recognizing and helping avoid exposure to allergens. This course is presented in partnership with Region 9 Head Start Association's Training West.

Avoiding Exposure to Hazardous Materials in ECE Settings, in partnership with Region 9 Head Start Association
Presented by Charlotte Hendricks, PhD
Video

Presenter

Charlotte Hendricks, PhD
Course: #31557Level: IntroductorySubject Area: Planning a safe and healthy learning environment1 Hour
  'Good information on how to store the products, and how high off of the floor the items should be stored'   Read Reviews
Children are much more vulnerable than adults to exposures of hazardous materials; young children account for more than half of poison exposures reported every year. This course provides information for programs to help them follow policy and procedures for safe use, storage, and disposal of hazardous materials. This course is presented in partnership with Region 9 Head Start Association's Training West.

Safely Transporting Young Children, in partnership with Region 9 Head Start Association
Presented by Charlotte Hendricks, PhD
Video

Presenter

Charlotte Hendricks, PhD
Course: #31558Level: IntroductorySubject Area: Planning a safe and healthy learning environment1 Hour
  'Good explanation'   Read Reviews
Early childhood programs often provide transportation to ensure that children receive essential and comprehensive services. This course will help you ensure young children are safe and minimize the potential for problems by providing information on developing and following transportation policy and procedures. This course is presented in partnership with Region 9 Head Start Association's Training West.