Personal care products injure young kids every two hours: Study

Washington: Our homes are filled with a range of personal care products but the risk these products pose to young kids seldom cross our mind. A recent study has found that these products cause injuries to kids every two hours.

The study published in ‘Clinical Pediatrics’ found that most injuries from these products occurred when a child swallowed the product (75.7 per cent) or the product made contact with a child’s skin or eyes (19.3 per cent). These ingestions and exposures most often led to poisonings (86.2 per cent ) or chemical burns (13.8 per cent).

“When you think about what young children see when they look at these products, you start to understand how these injuries can happen,” said Rebecca McAdams, co-author of the study.

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“Kids at this age can’t read, so they don’t know what they are looking at. They see a bottle with a colourful label that looks or smells like something they are allowed to eat or drink, so they try to open it and take a swallow. When the bottle turns out to be nail polish remover instead of juice, or lotion instead of yogurt, serious injuries can occur,” McAdams added.

The top three product categories leading to injuries were nail care products (28.3 per cent) hair care products (27.0 per cent), and skin care products (25.0 per cent), followed by fragrance products (12.7 per cent).

Nail polish remover was the individual product that led to the most number of visits to the emergency room (17.3 per cent of all injuries). Of the more serious injuries that required hospitalisation, more than half were from hair care products (52.4 per cent) with hair relaxers and permanent solutions leading to more hospitalisations than all other products.

Also of concern, is the ease of access to these products. “Children watch their parents use these items and may try to imitate their behaviour. Since these products are often stored in easy-to-reach places and are not typically in child-resistant containers, it is can be easy for kids to get to and open the bottles,” said McAdams.

“Because these products are currently not required to have child-resistant packaging, it is important for parents to put them away immediately after use and store them safely – up, away, and out of sight – preferably in a cabinet or closet with a lock or a latch. These simple steps can prevent many injuries and trips to the emergency department,” added McAdams.


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