Keep hand sanitizer away from children’s reach is a serious recommendation coming from the medical community.
Who would have thought that a substance as innocent as hand sanitizer, designed to kill bacteria and microbes on our hands could wreak havoc with children? According to the Georgia Poisoning Center conducting a research on the matter, since 2010 the number of calls to emergency hotlines reporting children gulping down hand sanitizer increased by 400 percent.
If it looks yummy and smells yummy, it might taste yummy too. Children younger than 12 represent the majority of cases in which hand sanitizer ingestion was reported. Flavored hand-sanitizer, reminding of strawberries, grapes, orange or grapefruit ranks as favorites with these children who unknowingly ingest a substance that contains anywhere in between 45 percent and 95 percent alcohol.
According to Dr. Gaylord Lopez, who is the director of the Georgia Poisoning Center:
“Kids are getting into these products more frequently, and unfortunately, there’s a percentage of them going to the emergency room”.
Due to the percentage of alcohol present in hand sanitizer, two to three sips may cause alcohol poisoning. For children, this may result not only in the usual tipsy symptoms, including headaches, vomiting or inability to utter coherent words and sentences, but in more serious complications, including severe dehydration, diarrhea, confusion or, in the most severe cases, they may cease breathing.
And while some of the children do it willingly, others take a dangerous dare from their friends while others are simply attracted to the flavors that hand sanitizer comes in. According to the statistics released by the Georgia Poisoning Center, just in 2010, 3,266 cases of hand sanitizer ingestion by children were reported to emergency hotlines. By 2014, the number jumped to 16,117 cases.
This is real threat to children’s health. As such, doctors recommend that hand sanitizer is kept away from children’s reach. Instead, washing their hands with soap and water can still go a long way.
Another alternative to prevent alcohol poisoning from hand sanitizer, is to replace hand sanitizer with wet sanitizing wipes or any other sanitizing product that doesn’t contain alcohol.
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