A six-year-old girl was sent to the emergency room after she ingested enough hand sanitizer to make her drunk. She could barely walk, was slurring her speech, and eventually fell and hit her head. She had to stay overnight in the hospital for observation. Thankfully, she will be fine, but this is not an isolated event and US Poison Control wants parents to be aware of the problem.
The US Poison Control says children are very tempted by hand sanitizer packaging. It is usually brightly colored, has glitter, smells like food and candy. Parents should not be considered with a child who licks a tiny bit off of their hands, but more than a taste can cause alcohol poisoning.
Sanitizer alcohol content ranges from 40% to 95%, with most containing over 60% ethyl alcohol. Wine and beer only contain about 5-15% alcohol. Be aware and take precaution with these tips from poison control.
Tips to prevent potentially harmful exposure to hand sanitizer:
- Hand sanitizers should be kept well out of reach of children at all times, and used only with adult supervision.
- When using hand sanitizer on yourself or others, apply a dime-sized amount to dry hands and rub hands together until completely dry.
- If you suspect your child has ingested hand sanitizer, call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222 immediately. Do not wait for symptoms to develop.
Most doctors recommend sanitizing wipes instead of gel or liquid sanitizer. The best way to clean up is soap and warm water.