Given the choice between a toy and a bottle of bleach, most children will go for the household cleaner, a new experiment has shown.


Kids aged between 1 and 4 were presented with a toy and a toxic household product, such as bleach or detergent tablets – and over half of the children chose household chemicals to play with over toys.

Using a hidden camera, eye-tracking senses and a heart rate monitor, scientists worked out which objects the kids are most attracted to.

Shockingly 50% chose stain remover over a doll...


64% chose paint over a stuffed monkey...

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...and 82% of the children involved chose to play with a bottle of bleach rather than wooden blocks.


The children were filmed on a hidden camera while they chose which to play with and a public service video (watch in full below) was made by the Dutch Government's home safety promotion organisation VeiligheidNL to highlight the dangers of leaving cleaning products where children can see them.

Sheila Merrill, public health adviser at The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) warns that leaving household chemicals within reach of children can put them in danger.

"Because of their inquisitive nature and because children tend to put things in their mouths, children under 5 years of age are most at risk of ending up in hospital after getting their little hands on medicines or household chemicals," she said.

"Deaths are relatively low, however if a liquid detergent capsule is mistaken for a toy or sweet and put into the mouth or squirted into the face it can lead to serious injuries of the throat or even the eyes.

"RoSPA’s advice is that parents and carers should keep these items stored out of reach and out of sight of young children, if possible in a locked cupboard."

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