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Texas Poison Centers Warn of Dangerous Spike in Children Ingesting Hand Sanitizer

The Doc Smitty Shares Health Risks of Young Children Ingesting Hand Sanitizer

The Texas Poison Control Center Network reports that calls for children ingesting alcohol-based hand sanitizer are up 80% from last year. 

Fears regarding COVID-19 have increased the amount of hand sanitizer and other disinfectants in homes, giving children more access to ingest these products. While hand sanitizer is beneficial for killing germs on our hands, it can be toxic if swallowed or misused.

“The biggest concern with hand sanitizer ingestion in kids is alcohol intoxication that can lead to low blood sugar, which can cause coma and seizures,” said Justin Smith, M.D., pediatrician at Cook Children’s Pediatrics Trophy Club. “Less serious symptoms can include nausea and vomiting.” 

Earlier this month, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning for a voluntary recall from Ashtel Studios due to hand sanitizer that is packaged “in containers resembling a food and drink pouch.” The appearance of the product is similar to applesauce and fruit packets and marketed with popular children’s characters, like PAW Patrol and Barbie. 

“It’s important that we remember that hand sanitizers should be kept out of the reach of small children, especially those under 5 years old. While keeping our children safe from COVID-19 is very important, we don’t want to let our guard down against other risks,” said Dr. Smith. “And please don’t buy sanitizer in containers that could look like food or could otherwise be more attractive to kids.”

As the coronavirus pandemic continues and flu season arrives, parents need to be more careful than ever to store hand sanitizer out of the reach of children. For more information on poison prevention, visit our website.

Get to know Justin Smith, M.D.

Justin Smith, M.D., is a pediatrician in Trophy Club and the Medical Advisor for Digital Health for Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Smith is an experienced keynote speaker for a variety of topics including pediatric/parenting topics, healthcare social media and physician leadership. If you are interested in having Dr. Smith present to your conference or meeting, please contact him at thedocsmitty@cookchildrens.org.

He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's checkupnewsroom.com. He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” open now. Click to learn more. To make an appointment, call 817-347-8100.