Poison control centers say they’ve seen 400% increase in kids drinking hand sanitizer

(WTNH)–A six year-old girl from Georgia was taken to the emergency room Monday after getting drunk on hand sanitizer.

From 2010 to 2014, the number of hand sanitizer cases related to children have increased dramatically. The calls coming in to poison control centers in the United States went from 3,266 to 16,117. That’s according to a poison center in Georgia.

In this case, the little girl couldn’t even walk and was slurring her words.

Doctors had to watch her overnight for signs of brain trauma after she ended up falling and hitting her head. She took just three or four squirts of the sanitizers.

“That’s about an ounce, probably equivalent to three shots of tequila,” said pharmacist Rick Carbray of Apex Pharmacy in Hamden. “So, that’s pretty impressive in terms of quantity of alcohol in these sanitizers.”

Hand sanitizers contain 45 to 95 percent alcohol, where as wine and beer contain about 12% and 5%.

Carbray says it’s not surprising that this little girl was curious and swallowed a colored sanitizer that looked like it would taste like strawberries.

Lisette Torres, a mother of three, admits she never really thought about how dangerous hand sanitizers are.

“I mean, I know kids accidentally put things in their mouth and they are curious, but no I never thought that,”Torres said.

She said she keeps hand sanitizers in her room instead of in a family room, but not for this reason.

“They waste it a lot,” she said. “They use extra, especially my ten year-old. Torres says now, she will keep it far away. She has a baby grandson who likes to run around the house and touch things.

Carbray suggests that at school, teachers keep sanitizers away from kids. Especially the colored, scented ones that may look appealing to a young child.

He recommends sanitizing wipes instead.

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