When most parents were worrying about the dangers posed by e-cigarettes, the children were getting in all sorts of other troubles. It turns out that liquid hand sanitizer is an equal threat, as more and more children throughout the United States have been reported to get drunk on it.
Whether at home or school, the germ-killing product has proved to have high enough alcohol content for the kids to become inebriated. And it’s no game either, as the intoxication symptoms reported by U.S. poison control centers ranged from slurred speech to inability to walk.
A report published by the Georgia Poison Center shows a 400 percent spike in phone calls regarding children who swallowed hand sanitizer. The figures are based on data collected on children aged 12 or younger. The alcohol found in hand sanitizer products vary greatly, ranging from mild 45 percent to a whopping 95 percent.
Tests showed that even one or two squirts of ingested product could induce alcohol poisoning, so they are rather dangerous left in the hands of children. By comparison, wine and beer contain only 12 percent and 5 percent alcohol, respectively.
Media outlets have reported various symptoms resulted from alcohol poisoning; they include breathlessness, confusion, vomiting, sleepiness, and even unconsciousness. According to Gaylord Lopez, the director of the center, the spike in the number of children being admitted to hospital and emergency rooms is mostly due to the fact that more children have more access to hand sanitizers.
Back in 2010, reports of the Poison Control Centers showed that 3,266 young children were admitted in cases related to hand sanitizer ingestion. Meanwhile, the figure has spiked 80 percent in 2014, reaching a sky-high 16,117 cases.
Adding to the fact that access to hand sanitizers is so facile nowadays, some kids drink it because it looks delicious; others do it after they smell the fruity aromas of grapes, oranges or strawberries. In the most dangerous cases, children dare their friends to do it, and then it’s a matter of peer pressure.
There are some other household products that should be kept away from kids’ reach because of their high alcohol content, such as cold medicines and mouthwash. If they must come in contact with these, parental supervision is strongly recommended. Other solutions would be switching to sanitizer wipes or alcohol-free products.
Hand sanitizer was invented by Lupe Hernandez back in 1966 during her training to become a registered nurse in California. Her discovery was that incorporating alcohol in gel would provide near-instant cleaning when soap and water were unavailable.
Image Source: Home Food Safety