Alcohol poisoning is not a recent trouble for parents who raise teenagers. Teens consider that the overconsumption of alcohol makes them look cool to the eyes of their friends. But now a new rather nasty problem has appeared. Children drink hand sanitizers!
Parents use hand sanitizing gels to clean their children’s hands and kill “germs”. It is an effective way to prevent your kids from getting sick. They are also very practical, because they come in convenient purse/ pocket size for the school and in larger pump dispensers for the house. Ethyl alcohol is the active ingredient in these hand sanitizer products and its concentration ranges from 45% to 95%, thus a greater amount than the concentration of most hard liquors. So even though it is safe to use as directed on hands, the accidental (or not) ingestion of a relatively small amount of this product by children– as little as two or three squirts in some cases — can cause alcohol poisoning. The results of alcohol poisoning are confusion, vomiting and drowsiness. In severe cases, if a small child swallows an ounce or two, it could be fatal.
Unfortunately, the incidents of alcohol poisoning from ingesting hand sanitizer in children younger than 12 have been increasing dramatically. According to new analysis by the Georgia Poison Center, poison control center hotlines across the United States have received nearly 400% more calls since 2010 – from 3,266 in 2010 to 16,117 in 2014-related to this issue. Georgia Poison Center director Dr. Gaylord Lopez warned the state’s school systems about children consuming hand sanitizer. He also explained the reasons that children do so. They want to get drunk, on a dare from friends, and because it looks tasty.
“A kid is not thinking this is bad for them,” Lopez told CNN. “A lot of the more attractive (hand sanitizers) are the ones that are scented. There are strawberry, grape, orange-flavored hand sanitizers that are very appealing to kids.”
What should you do as a parent about hand-sanitizing gels?
- The most important rule is to always keep hazardous products (drugs, cosmetics and cleaning products, alcohol beverages) well out of the reach of children.
- Young children should use hand sanitizers only with careful adult supervision.
- Drinking aftershaves, colognes, mouth washes, perfumes, and rubbing alcohols can also lead to alcohol poisoning.
- Even a couple of sips of these products can put a young child at risk for alcohol poisoning.
- Don’t be a hypochondriac parent. Use sanitizers only to supplement hand washing, not instead of it.
- After all, a thorough hand washing with soap and warm water is the best way to clean hands and it also removes most germs.
- Children can also use non -alcohol based products or sanitizing wipes. They provide the same protection and children won’t swallow them.
- However, if you have any suspicions that your child has consumed any of these hazardous products, do not wait for symptoms to develop. Call immediately the Poison Control Center and ask for help.
For poison emergencies or information call: 1-800-222-1222
They are ready to assist you 24 hrs a day, 365 days a year.