Sprayers and cleaners used in our house are increasingly becoming a major health hazard for children, a recent study conducted by US researchers has revealed.

Exposure to poisonous chemicals from household cleaning sprays often result in emergency hospitalization of children causing grave concern for parents, say researchers from the Nationwide Children's Hospital's Center for Injury Research and Policy.

The study collected and analyzed data of 267,000 children aged five and below who were treated in emergency rooms after injuries with household cleaning products between 1990 and 2006 in the United States. Children aged between one and three were found to be the most vulnerable to injuries from household cleaners.

"So many household products are sold in spray bottles these days, because for cleaning purposes they're really easy to use," says study author Lara B. McKenzie, a principal investigator at Nationwide Children's Hospital's Center for Injury Research and Policy. "But spray bottles don't generally come with child-resistant closures, so it's really easy for a child to just squeeze the trigger."

Among the different household cleaners, bleaches caused the highest rate of injuries in the range of 37 percent while spray bottle containers caused 40 per cent of them. Although injury rate from bottles with caps and other types of containers decreased during the study period, spray bottle injury rates remained largely constant, the researchers say.

Kids are often attracted to a cleaning product's pretty label and colourful liquid, and may mistake it for juice or vitamin water, they say.

"If you look at a lot of household cleaners in bottles these days, it's actually pretty easy to mistake them for sports drinks if you can't read the labels," adds McKenzie, who is also assistant professor of paediatrics at Ohio State University.

According to McKenzie if parents do not want to keep spray bottles locked up, they should at least turn the nozzle to the closed position, which makes it harder for a curious toddler to grab it and squeeze.

As many as 12,000 children aged below six are still being treated in US emergency rooms every year for these types of accidental poisonings, says the study which was published online and is scheduled to appear in the September issue of the medical journal Pediatrics.