Kids are getting drunk on hand sanitizer

Kids are getting drunk on hand sanitizer

Fruity smelling, colorful bottles of hand sanitizer are becoming serious health hazards for kids who are consuming the substance and accidentally becoming intoxicated.

In four years, poison control centers across the country have seen a 400 percent increase in cases of children under 12 years old consuming hand sanitizer, according to an analysis by the Georgia Poison Center. The number reported spiked to 16,117 in 2014 compared to just 3,266 in 2010.

Due to its high concentration of alcohol, which can range from 45 to 95 percent, even a few squirts can cause alcohol poisoning, said Dr. Gaylord Lopez, director of the Georgia Poison Center.

“I would recommend to parents that they start treating alcohol-based hand sanitizers just like they do other prescriptions and over-the -counter medications that can be harmful,” says Dr. Stephen Crouch, emergency medicine physician at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill. “Keep them out of reach of small children or in locked cabinets to prevent inadvertent access.”

In a letter to school districts in Georgia, Dr. Lopez noted that some children are choosing to consume hand sanitizer because it looks like it would taste good, while others are using the substance to intentionally get drunk.

“For older children who are ingesting the hand sanitizer intentionally, it may be a good time to sit down and educate them on the effects of ingesting alcohol and the potential short-term and long-term effects,” says Dr. Crouch. “Parents may also need to talk to them about why they are doing this. This could be because of peer pressure, depressions or addictive personality.”

If a child ingests hand sanitizer, Dr. Crouch says parents should immediately call their local poison control center, as well as the child’s primary care provider and monitor him or her closely.

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Comments

3 Comments

  1. SAD REALITIES AS THIS ARE INFESTING OUR FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS…
    I RAISED 4 CHILDREN AND I KNOW IT IS NOT AN EASY TASK..
    MINE ALL HAD THEIR PEER PRESSURE CAVE INS. .ALL WERE ALCOLHOL RELATED.
    EDUCATING THEM, EMPATHIZING WITH THEM, KEEPING AN OPEN DIALOGUE, ALL ARE IMPORTANT & NECESSARY. BUT THE BIGGEST OF ALL IS TO HELP THEM SEE THE LOVE BEHIND YOUR LIMITS. SHAMING THEM SERVES NO RESOLUTION OR POWER..
    WE MUST CARRY ON WITH LOVE , FORGIVENESS AND LIMITS WITH PUNISHMENTS. & ACCOUNTABILTY..

    PS ONCE A PARENT, ALWAYS A PARENT..FOR THIS I AM GRATEFUL

  2. I am an RN. I once had an alcoholic patient, whose hand sanitizer was always empty. It took a couple days until we realized he was drinking it in the opaque styrofoam cups we furnished. He was in his twenties. Not a kid.

  3. First off, caps are an indication of yelling on the internet, not how much you believe in something, just as an fyi.
    Second, this has to be the easiest example of natural selection since the “say something after stuffing marshmallows in your mouth” challenge. Here is a hint, your 12 year old is not doing this by accident because they think it might taste good. They’re doing this as a dare OR your kid is trying to seem cool. The hand sanitizer is not the problem here, it’s the impressionable/dumb kid.
    Now we all do dumb things when were kids. We all pushed limits because that’s the point of childhood….learning how to be an adult. If the kid does this once then its a simple, “well wasn’t that stupid to do” as they puke up in the bathroom. If they continue to engage in this activity then as a parent there are probably some more serious things going on in the kid’s life that you should be aware of.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.