Poison control centers say more children getting drunk on hand sanitizer

ATLANTA, GA (KTRK) -- Doctors are trying to warn parents about the dangers of hand sanitizer.

Since 2010, poison control center hotlines across the country have seen a nearly 400 percent increase in calls related to young children swallowing hand sanitizer, CNN reports. Last year alone, there were more than 16,000 calls, and many of the kids ended up in the emergency room.

One of those children was 6-year-old Nhaijah Russell. She said she swallowed three or four squirts of liquid hand sanitizer at school because it tasted good. It made her so drunk, she could not physically walk.

"A kid is not thinking this is bad for them," Dr. Gaylord Lopez told CNN. "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."

The amount of alcohol in hand sanitizer ranges from 45 percent to as much as 95 percent. That means even ingesting small amounts can cause alcohol poisoning.

Wine and beer contain about 12 percent and 5 percent alcohol respectively.

So what can parents do to protect their children? Lopez says either keep alcohol based hand sanitizer out of reach or switch to non-alcohol based products and sanitizing wipes. null
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