HSA launches ‘Under the Sink’ primary school chemical safety resource for children

Monday 26th February

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has today (Monday 26th February) launched a chemical safety resource on its website www.hsa.ie/education for primary schools entitled ‘Under the Sink’ designed to raise awareness amongst younger children of the dangers of household chemicals. According to the National Poisons Information Centre more than 15,000 children were reported to have been poisoned in their homes in the last three years, due to ingestion, inhalation or absorption of chemicals with more than 7,000 of these accidents caused by everyday household chemical products such as detergents and bleach.

‘Under the Sink’ is a short on-line presentation, which is designed for use on the classroom whiteboard and comes with a set of teacher guidelines and activities. It also includes relevant links to the Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curriculum for first and second class pupils but can be used for other classes as an awareness-raising tool.

Dr. Majella Cosgrave, senior inspector in the Chemicals and Prevention Division, HSA said: “Young children often see household chemicals as either attractively-coloured foodstuffs or playthings. ‘Under the Sink’ is designed to illustrate the potential dangers of household chemicals to children in the home. The on-line resource covers: what household chemicals look like and where they are found; the effects of chemicals on people; how danger is communicated through chemical labels; the safe storage of household chemicals; and how to keep children safe from chemicals.”

HSA Education Manager, Joanne Harmon, said, “This resource includes a presentation which can be covered within a short 30 minute period. The teachers’ guidelines include a lesson plan, suggested activities, ideas for follow-up and links to further resources. The aims of the resource correspond with the Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curriculum links for first and second class, under the following strands (i) Myself and the Strand Unit: Safety and Protection and (ii) Myself and the Wider World and Strand Unit: Developing citizenship.

“The Authority has a range of short safety-related on-line courses and resources available for children that are designed to be taught in the classroom. The following short online courses are available on https://hsalearning.ie: Keep Safe on the Farm; Keep Safe – Screens and Keypads; Keep Safe at School and Keep safe around Electricity. Certificates can be downloaded for class groups that complete each course.”

Further information on HSA schools resources can be found at www.hsa.ie/education and on chemicals at www.hsa.ie/chemicals and www.poisons.ie.