COLUMBUS, Ohio - Keep your personal care products out of reach and locked up if you have young children in the house, researchers are urging.
Personal care products like lotion, perfume, nail polish, makeup and shampoo were responsible for 64,686 emergency room visits by children under the age of five from 2002 to 2016 — that’s approximately one child every two hours — a new study from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found.
Most of these injuries come from ingestion (75.7 percent) or contact with skin or eyes (19.3 percent). Ingestion and exposures led to poisoning in 86.2 percent of cases and chemical burns in 13.8 percent of cases.
Nail care products, hair care products and skin care products are the most likely product categories to lead to injury, causing 28.3 percent, 27 percent and 25 percent of injuries in the study, respectively.
Nail polish remover was the product that caused the highest number of E.R. visits and accounted for a total of 17.3 percent of all injuries.
“Kids this age can’t read, so they don’t know what they are looking at,” explained Rebecca McAdams, MA, MPH, senior research associate at CIRP and co-author of the study, “They see a bottle with a colorful 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 also warns that, because young children are keen on imitating their parents, it’s important to not leave personal care products in easy-to-reach places so that children won’t be tempted to try their parents’ care routines.
The study, which was published in Clinical Pediatrics, urges parents of young children to take a series of simple precautions to avoid injury from personal care products.
Keeping these types of products “up, away, and out of sight,” preferably in a cabinet that latches or locks shut, and practicing safe storage are important factors in preventing injury. Researchers also suggest keeping products in their original containers to better keep track of the ingredients and possible risks of exposure or ingestion.
Having the number for the National Poison Control Help Line (1-800-222-1222) can make it easier to get help quickly if injuries do occur.