Household product labels are important and provide critical information on how to correctly use and store the products. It’s important to read them, even if it’s a product you’ve been using for years.  Follow the instructions and make sure to store products in a safe place, out of the reach of children. It’s also important to have frank and frequent conversations with your young children about what’s safe to taste and sniff and what’s not. Having these conversations with your kids from a young age and modeling correct product use are two ways to help prevent accidents in the home. 

Not a safe high

Unfortunately, as children grow older and become teenagers and young adults, accidental poisonings can turn into intentional abuse of household products. Through friends at school and videos online, tweens and young teens are led to believe that inhaling or “huffing” one of the over 1,400 products in and around the home can be a “safe high.” This false belief has led to the tragic loss of many young teens.

"A child is 50 percent less likely to abuse a product if a parent talks to them about the dangers of abuse."

Inhalant abuse, or the intentional misuse and abuse of products for getting high, is preventable. It’s important to remember that reading the label and having safety conversations with your children does not stop once your toddler is grown. A child is 50 percent less likely to abuse a product if a parent talks to them about the dangers of abuse. As your child grows, transition your conversations from what is and is not safe to taste and sniff to why huffing can be dangerous.

Set the best example

Household products provide benefits to our daily lives and are essential in keeping our homes clean, healthy and safe. Accidents can happen, so set an example for your child by reading the label, following label directions and having frequent conversations about the correct use and storage of these products. Don’t stop talking to your children as they grow; having the difficult conversations about inhalant abuse can save their lives.

Are you having the right conversations?

Jeff Williams, East Cleveland Police Officer, lost his son Kyle at age 14 to inhalant abuse. With frequent conversations about drug use and a drug k-9 in the home, Jeff and his family thought they were informed and would be aware if their children were using drugs. However, they weren’t talking about inhalants. 

“I don’t think I could have ever imagined how much losing a child would change the rest of our lives, but not a day passes that I don’t continue to see the major effects losing Kyle has, and continues to have, on all of us.”

Too many parents are unaware of inhalant abuse — the dangers and the warning signs — until it is too late. Inhalant abuse can kill you the first time you try it. However, it is 100 percent preventable with awareness and education. Know the warning signs of inhalant abuse. Talk with your children about the dangers. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Hear Jeff’s story and learn more about inhalant abuse in order to have educated and informed conversations with your children.

Get informed. Take action. Save a life. Visit www.consumered.org/personal-stories.