An expert on poison says those popular cans of hand sanitizer pose a potential threat to young children.
Tammy Noble, a registered nurse and spokeswoman for the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center, says they’ve gotten more than 50 calls this year from Iowans whose kids have consumed the products, which are heavily alcohol-based.
"It’s like like keeping your vodka, whiskey and those types of liquors just readily available on the counter," she says. "Kids tend to like to access those areas and if something that’s left on the counter than kind of looks like water, we’ve had several cases where kids are actually sucking on the pump and pumping it into their mouths or washing their hands with it and licking it off their hands."
She says the sanitizers often have a sweet smell and resemble water, making kids curious. Depending on the child’s size, Noble says even a mouthful of the hand sanitizer could be a serious concern.
Noble says parents want their families to have easy access to this sort of product so they can quickly wash their hands, but if they’re left on the counter, young kids will get into them and do so very frequently.
She says what makes the hand sanitizers so dangerous is that some of them are up to 62 percent alcohol. According to Noble, kids could quickly become intoxicated by consuming these products and they don’t tolerate high alcohol concentrations like adults. She says a child could very rapidly get a low blood-sugar level, creating a critical situation.
For more information, call the poison center in Sioux City at 800-222-1222 or visit www.iowapoison.org .