Doctors warn that young children are accidentally getting drunk from hand sanitizer
When 6-year-old Nhaijah Russell was rushed to the emergency room from her school, she was slurring her words and couldn't walk steadily. The young girl had swallowed about three squirts of liquid hand sanitizer at school because it tasted like strawberries. She had no idea that it contained enough alcohol to make her drunk and give her alcohol poisoning.
Poison control center hotlines throughout the United States have concluded that since 2010, there's been a nearly 400 percent increase in emergency calls regarding children under the age of 12 ingesting hand sanitizer. Dr. Gaylord Lopez of the Georgia Poison Center said:
"Kids are getting into these products more frequently, and unfortunately, there's a percentage of them going to the emergency room."
Many children ingesting the liquid sanitizer are unaware of how much alcohol it contains. While wine contains 12 percent alcohol and beer contains about 5 percent alcohol, hand sanitizers contain between 45 and 95 percent alcohol. Therefore, even the smallest amount of sanitizer can cause alcohol poisoning.
When Russell was rushed to the hospital, her blood alcohol content was .179. She had to be watched by doctors overnight for signs of brain trauma after her drunken state caused her to fall and hit her head. Her mother, Ortoria Scott, said:
"That was very scary. It could have been very lethal for my child."
Lopez explained why so many children are ingesting hand sanitizer without thinking about the consequences. He said:
"A kid is not thinking this is bad for them. A lot of the more attractive [hand sanitizers] are the ones that are scented. There are strawberry, grape, orange-flavored hand sanitizers that are very appealing to kids."
Lopez recommends teachers and parents either substitute hand sanitizer with sanitizing wipes or non-alcohol based products or keep hand sanitizer out of children's reach.
Watch this video to learn about the teens who are intentionally getting drunk from hand sanitizer:
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