Reed Diffusers: Potential Household
Reed diffusers are liquid
air fresheners in a narrow-necked bottle with long “sticks” inserted
in to the liquid. These sticks, or reeds, absorb scented liquid from
the container and release fragrance into the surrounding air. Many
scents are available. Manufacturers range from widely-known consumer
brands to small boutique producers. There are also recipes on the
web for making your own air fresheners for use in reed diffusers.
The opening at the top is
narrow, but not too narrow for a child to take a swig or spill the
contents. Ingredients vary, but two common ingredients can be
dangerous to a child who swallows them.
Some reed diffuser
fragrances contain up to 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. This is the
same thing as rubbing alcohol. Swallowing this can cause vomiting
and make a child extremely drowsy.
Essential oils (e.g.
lavender oil, eucalyptus oil) are also common ingredients.
Swallowing these can cause drowsiness, tremors or seizures, stomach
upset, and mouth irritation. Home recipes for diffuser fragrances
may call for the same ingredients.
Isopropyl alcohol and
essential oils can also cause skin and eye irritation. Of course,
there is a danger that the long slender sticks could cause injury,
If you use air fresheners,
they must be in some sort of sealed container so that children can’t
eat or drink them. If someone swallows air freshener, call the
Poison Center right away at
If air fresheners spill on the skin, rinse with running water
right away. If they splash in the eyes, rinse with running water for
at least fifteen minutes. In either case, call the Poison Center.