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Personal care products injure a child every two hours in the US

Products that are commonly found in the bathroom or bedroom can become extremely dangerous when they end up in the hands of small children. According to a new study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, a child lands in the emergency room every two hours from poisoning or chemical burns associated with personal care products.

The researchers found that 64,686 children under the age of five were treated in hospitals across the United States from 2002 to 2016 for injuries related to personal care products. Most of the injuries were the result of ingestion or skin and eye exposure.

“When you think about what young children see when they look at these products, you start to understand how these injuries can happen,” said study co-author Rebecca McAdams. “Kids this age can’t read, so they don’t know what they are looking at.”

“They see a bottle with a colorful label that looks or smells like something they are allowed to eat or drink, so they try to open it and take a swallow. When the bottle turns out to be nail polish remover instead of juice, or lotion instead of yogurt, serious injuries can occur.”

Nail care, hair care, and skin care products were the top three categories of items involved in the injuries, followed by fragrance products. Overall, nail polish remover was the single product that led to the most emergency room visits.

In addition, the more serious injuries that required hospitalization were primarily caused by hair care products, such as hair relaxers and permanent solutions.

“Children watch their parents use these items and may try to imitate their behavior. Since these products are often stored in easy-to-reach places and are not typically in child-resistant containers, it is can be easy for kids to get to and open the bottles,” said McAdams.

“Because these products are currently not required to have child-resistant packaging, it is important for parents to put them away immediately after use and store them safely – up, away, and out of sight – preferably in a cabinet or closet with a lock or a latch. These simple steps can prevent many injuries and trips to the emergency department.”

The researchers also recommend that pediatricians discuss safe storage guidelines with caregivers during well-child visits. Almost 60 percent of the injuries in this study involved children younger than two years of age.

The study is published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics.

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

Image Credit: Kunlanan Yarist

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