Kids getting drunk on hand sanitizer is a trend that’s far from slowing down.
CNN reports that kids are enjoying what this seemingly harmless liquid can do for them. In the worst case scenarios, kids are going to the emergency room.
The Georgia Poison Center reveals that since 2010, kids younger than 12 are getting drunk on hand sanitizer and that number has gone up 400 percent. Dr. Gaylor Lopez, the center’s director, explains that young people have more access to these products and are facing health emergencies over it.
The amount of alcohol in hand sanitizer is anywhere from 45 percent to 95 percent. Sometimes, just two or three squirts ingested can lead to alcohol poisoning. When you consider that wine and beer contains about 12 percent and 5 percent alcohol, that’s a large amount. It’s easy to see how kids can get drunk on hand sanitizer.
According to Medical Daily via MSN, drinking hand sanitizer began in New Zealand, but social media and YouTube was a game changer and helped this on to be a global issue.
Alcohol poisoning may result in confusion, vomiting, and drowsiness. In the worst instances, a child can stop breathing. Other conditions stemming from alcohol poisoning is diarrhea, memory loss, blindness, and irreversible organ damage.
Lopez says that 3,266 hand sanitizer cases involving young children were reported to poison control centers in 2010. That number increased to 16,117 cases in 2014.
A letter was sent from Lopez to Georgia schools that warned about kids consuming hand sanitizer. He shares that some drink the santizer for purposes of getting drunk, while others do it on a dare from friends. There are even some that drink the liquid because it looks “tasty.”
Lopez says young children don’t believe the sanitizer is a bad thing for them.
“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.”
There are a number of ways that kids get drunk on hand sanitizer. For instance, it’s no secret that teens tend to mix hand sanitizer with Listerine to make a “strong cocktail.” They may also use salt to separate the alcohol from the sanitizer solution.
Lopez advises parents and teachers to store hand sanitizer out of reach of children and monitor its use. Another option he suggests is non-alcohol-based products, or sanitizing wipes. An additional option is foam hand sanitizer.
[Photo Credit: Commons Wikimedia]