Doctors want parents to know about the dangers that hand sanitizers pose to children after an alarming increase of young children getting drunk from the seemingly harmless liquid.
Recently, 6-year-old Nhaijah Russell was rushed to emergency after she began slurring her words and was unable to walk. It turns out she had swallowed three or four squirts of a liquid hand sanitizer at school because the strawberry chocolate flavor tasted good.
One-ounce ingestion of the sanitizer contains enough alcohol to make an adult dangerously drunk. For children, it could be lethal. Nhaijah was kept overnight at Gwinnett Medical Center near Atlanta for observation and will be all right, but her mother Ortoria Scott wants other parents to be careful.
“That was very scary,” Ortoria told Fox 13 News. “It could have been very lethal for my child.”
With hand sanitizers being sold with scents like vanilla cupcake or strawberries and grapes, young children are curious what they may taste like. Sadly, the appealing packaging means poison control center hotlines in the United States have seen a nearly 400% increase in calls related to children younger than 12 ingesting hand sanitizer since 2010.
“Kids are getting into these products more frequently, and unfortunately, there’s a percentage of them going to the emergency room,” said Dr. Gaylord Lopez, the Georgia Poison Center director.
Lopez said 3,266 hand sanitizer cases related to young children were reported to poison control centers in 2010. That number increased to 16,117 cases in 2014. The risk isn’t only to young children. Teenagers are also purposely ingesting the liquid in order to get drunk.
Parents and teachers are being advised to store hand sanitizer out of reach of children and monitor its use. Changing to non-alcohol based products and using wipes instead of liquid is also an option.
Share this important warning with your family and friends!