Poisons helpline 131126



Occasionally it may be necessary to treat your home with a pesticide to get rid of fleas, termites, cockroaches, mice, etc. While many people are reluctant to use pesticides, they may be used safely and effectively if the necessary precautions are taken. For information on selecting and using pesticides, contact your local environmental health unit (North Queensland, Central Queensland or Southern Queensland).

Before using any pesticide

  1. Read the label thoroughly, ensure it is the right product for the right job, check the manufacturer’s instructions, and be aware of any precautions recommended.
  2. Make sure you have the right equipment to mix the preparation and to protect yourself. If the instructions say:
    – “Avoid inhaling the fumes” – You will need a mask
    – “Avoid contact with the skin” – You will need gloves, long sleeves, trousers and covered shoes
    – “Use in well ventilated area” – Use outside or have air being fanned away from you
    – “Keep out of reach of children” – Store in a cupboard that has a child-resistant latch or lock
  3. Do not allow children to be near when the product is being used.

Pesticide “bombs” or sprays

  1. Read the product label and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Products containing pyrethrins may be less of a poisoning risk to humans than those containing an organophosphate (an anticholinesterase compound)
  3. Make sure all pets are out of the house.
  4. Make sure all food and cooking utensils are well protected and not left exposed.
  5. Wear a mask when letting off the “bomb” and let off the one furthest from the door first.
  6. Leave house closed up for the time directed by the manufacturer on the label.
  7. Ventilate the house thoroughly.
  8. Wash kitchen sink, benches and surfaces before preparing any food.
  9. Allow one day, then vacuum thoroughly before babies and toddlers are allowed on carpets.
  10. Pregnant women should avoid using the bombs or sprays, but can return to the treated house after it has been well ventilated. 

Blowing bubbles safely

Blowing bubbles has always been a favourite activity for young children – watching the bubbles form, the different shapes, rainbow colours and their graceful, but short flight, is a lot of fun.

However many telephone calls are received at the Queensland Poisons Information Centre every year from concerned parents and carers when something has gone wrong. Children mistakenly suck the solution instead of blowing it, tip it on their skin, splash it into their eyes and even in some cases, inhale it into their lungs.

For this reason, the Queensland Poisons Information Centre makes the following suggestions:

  1. It is best to use soap solution for the mixture. Make a very soapy solution using an ordinary household soap.
  2. If a detergent must be used, make sure it is for hand washing dishes, not for a dishwashing machine or the laundry. If you buy concentrated detergent, make sure it is first diluted according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Then use the minimum amount required to produce bubbles.
  3. Do not put the soap solution in a container normally used for drinks e.g. cup, glass or mug.
  4. Never give the child a drinking straw to blow through. It is too easy for them to suck rather than blow.
  5. Hold bubble-blowing rings up in the breeze to blow the bubble. The ring should not touch the child’s mouth.
  6. Pre-school age children should always be supervised by an adult.
  7. If an accident with the solution should happen – follow the appropriate first aid advice, then contact the Queensland Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.

(Adapted with permission from the Western Australian Poisons Information Centre)