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Personal care products pose risks to kids

Cosmetic bag with items and a small pillbox spread out on a countertop.

Live with a curious kiddo? Who, me?

July 17, 2019—For parents and others who care for young children, the results of a new study offer an important reminder about the dangers of personal care products around the home.

Products like nail polish, lotions and shampoos may not seem harmful. But they can be when they get in the hands of curious kids. In fact, this research found that about every two hours a young child ends up in a hospital emergency room (ER) after handling or swallowing a personal care item.

Serious and preventable injuries

The researchers looked at injury records for children younger than 5. From 2002 to 2016, more than 64,000 children were treated in an ER after they got their hands on items such as:

  • Colognes and other fragrance products.
  • Hair and skin care products.
  • Makeup.
  • Nail polish and remover.

Some of the children were poisoned by swallowing the product. Others were injured when they got the product in their eyes or on their skin.

Nail polish remover injuries caused the most ER visits. These were followed by skin care product injuries. Some of the most serious injuries involved hair relaxers and hair perm solutions, which led to more hospitalizations than all other products.

The study appeared in the journal Clinical Pediatrics.

Keep away from kids

The researchers noted how easy it can be for children to get into some products. Many don't have child-resistant caps. And to kids, they may look or smell like something good to eat or drink.

That's why it's best to store personal care products where children can't reach or see them. The safest place is up in a cabinet that locks or latches shut.

Here are some other steps you can take to help keep kids safe:

  • Keep personal care products in their original containers.
  • As soon as you finish using a product, put it away in a cabinet that locks or latches. It only takes a moment for children to get into something they shouldn't.
  • Call the poison control center at 800.222.1222 if you suspect poisoning.

Test your protective prowess with this five-question child safety quiz.

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