Saturday, July 07, 2007

Hand Sanitizers Can Be Dangerous—Even Deadly—to Children

I recently read a report in a newsletter written by a mother who was called to her daughter’s school after they found her to be extremely lethargic and incoherent. The four-year-old was unable to hold up her head or focus her eyes. After questioning the child’s classmates, they learned that she had been licking hand sanitizer from her hand! The hospital discovered that the girl had an extremely high blood alcohol level.

I remember the days when my teenagers were in elementary school, and one of the required items on their supply list was always a bottle of hand sanitizer. So, naturally I was suspicious of the story I had read because I had a hard time believing that children would be given something that was so dangerous. But after checking out the urban legend websites, I learned that the story is true!

Hand sanitizers can contain up to 60 percent alcohol, which is 120 proof—a higher alcohol content than vodka! The result, depending on the amount ingested, could be intoxication, alcohol poisoning, and even death. If your child has been around hand sanitizers and is showing symptoms such as slurred speech, extreme fatigue, vomiting, glassy eyes or anything else out of the ordinary, call 911 immediately. Treat hand sanitizers as poisons and keep them out of reach of children. As for me, that’s one item on the school supply list that this mother won’t be purchasing!

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