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.
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ByStephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
Jun 2019
woman putting on mascara at home in her bathroom
Photo: iStock

Kids have a way of getting their hands on anything and everything. You know your shampoo, body lotion, nail polish and other common personal care items should be kept away from little ones, but it’s a lot easier said than done. According to a report from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, over 60,000 kids have visited the ER in a 14-year span as a result of getting their hands on these products.

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. In the report, both of these cases typically resulted in one of two frightening scenarios: 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.

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