Study: Every Two Hours a Kid Is Rushed to the ER Because of These Household Items

Beware of these dangerous products lurking within kids’ reach.
ByStephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
Jun 2019
woman putting on mascara at home in her bathroom
Photo: iStock

Your shampoo, body lotion, nail polish and other common personal care items should be kept away from your kids. It’s a lot easier said than done, according to the more than 60,000 kids who have visited the ER in a 14-year span as a result of getting their hands on these products. The findings were shared in a new report from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

The records show 64,686 kids younger than five years old—about 60 percent of which were younger than 2 years old—in the US were treated in the emergency room for injuries related to personal care products from 2002 through 2016. The number is equivalent to about one child every two hours. An overwhelming majority of these cases, about 76 percent, occurred when a child swallowed the product. Another 19 percent were after the product made contact with a child’s skin or eyes. Both of these cases typically resulted in one of two frightening ways: poisonings (86.2 percent) or chemical burns (13.8 percent).

Here’s a look at the different types of items that caused some of these injuries:

  • Nail care products (28.3 percent)
  • Hair care products (27 percent)
  • Skin care products (25 percent)
  • Fragrance products (12.7 percent)

Nail polish remover led to the most number of visits to the emergency room, but hair care products were responsible for more serious injuries requiring hospitalization. More than half of hospitalization cases were from products with hair relaxers and permanent solutions. You may think something like this won’t happen to you, but kids have a way with getting their hands on everything that they shouldn’t. One mom was given the fright of her life when her 18-month-old son had a near-death experience after ingesting a little bit of baby oil.

To avoid these scary scenarios from happening in your home, the report urges parents to keep these products “up, away and out of sight.” Leave them in cabinets that can be locked or latched closed, and return them there immediately after use. Another safety precaution is to leave all items in their original containers, so you know exactly what products are in every tube or bottle. Lastly, it’s better to be safe than sorry—save the national Poison Control helpline (1-800-222-1222) in your phone so you can make a quick call if an emergency arises.

UPDATE: What You Need to Know About the Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder Scare

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
04/16/2018

Top Halloween Safety Tips for Parents of Trick-or-Treating Tots

Dina DiMaggio, MD, and Anthony F. Porto, MD, MPH

How to Avoid Lead Poisoning in Children

Lisa Milbrand
Contributing Writer

11 Essential Winter Safety Tips for Baby

Celia Shatzman
Contributing Writer

What One Mom Needs Every Parent to Know After Newborn’s Close Call

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
04/29/2019

Study: Every Two Hours a Kid Is Rushed to the ER Because of These Household Items

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
06/17/2019

EWG Ranks This Summer's Best—And Worst—Sunscreens for Kids

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
05/24/2017

Mom's Viral Life Jacket Video Reminds Parents to Test Vests First

Ashley Edwards Walker
Contributing Writer
Published
08/20/2018

YouTube Cracks Down on Inappropriate Content for Kids

Natalie Neusch
Contributing Writer
Published
11/26/2017

Ask the Pediatrician: How Can I Keep Baby Safe This Winter?

Dina DiMaggio, MD, and Anthony F. Porto, MD, MPH

7 Big Ways Parenting Rules Changed for the Better in 2016

Ashlee Neuman
Deputy Editor
Published
12/28/2016

Preschooler Endures Emergency Surgery After Swallowing Toy Magnets

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
12/31/2018