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Are Your Children Safe from these Common Household Products?

Posted by Jakeen Johnson, M.D. on Jul 13, 2019, 9:16:00 AM

On countertops and bedside tables in your home, many dangerous products are hiding in plain sight. Shampoo, lotion, nail polish, and makeup seem harmless because they are associated with personal care, but these everyday items may be hazardous to young children.

A recent study by the National Children’s Hospital found that 64,686 children younger than 5 years had visited the emergency room for injuries related to personal care products like these from 2002 to 2016. That’s the equivalent of approximately one child every two hours.

Study results showed that most emergency visits were a result of children swallowing products or the product coming in contact with skin or eyes. This may lead to poisonings or chemical burns.

Nail care products are the main cause of injury among children, accounting for 28.3% of injuries. Specifically, nail polish remover was responsible for over half of all nail care product injuries. Hair care products, especially relaxers and permanent solutions, were also implicated as products that caused harm at an alarming rate, responsible for 52.4% of injury cases that required hospitalizations. Lotions and face creams also pose a risk because they may look like yogurt or puddings – popular toddler snacks. Similarly, liquid products containing acetone and perfume are often colored, and easily mistaken for juice.

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Reduce the Temptation

Children are more susceptible to accidental poisonings or exposure because these products are familiar to them, easily accessible, and visually appealing. Children are impressionable and observe your morning and nightly routines. They know where these products are kept, and they are likely to try to imitate you by reaching to the shelves and applying the products themselves.

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I recommend these tips for parents and guardians to follow to help reduce these accidental – and potentially dangerous – exposures:

  • Up, away, out of sight. Never leave personal care products out and unattended. Put them away immediately after use. It’s best to store them up, away, and out of sight in a cabinet that can be latched or locked.
  • Store safely now. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Sixty percent of injuries occurred in children less than 2 years old. It’s never too soon to start practicing safe storage.
  • Original containers. Keep all products in their original containers to avoid confusion. Also, in an emergency involving the product, original packaging can be referenced for ingredients.
  • Know how to get help. Have the Texas Poison Control Network phone number (1-800-222-1222) readily available in case of an emergency.

These tips are also important for household products like cleaning supplies and detergent pods. While it might be widely known that detergent is poisonous upon ingestion, many are unaware that detergent pods have a higher concentration of chemicals, making them even more toxic. These colorful pods are appealing to young children because they are often mistaken for candy.

Keep Emergency Phone Numbers Handy

Children have always been curious, and while a new product may seem innocuous to us, the natural curiosity of little ones may land them into trouble. Parents and other adults who have children in their lives should be aware of the potential dangers, store products safely, and keep the Texas Poison Control Network phone number (1-800-222-1222) close by.

Johnson, Jakeen

Dr. Jakeen Johnson is a board-certified pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold’s Summer Creek Clinic. Her areas of clinical interest include childhood obesity, nutrition, asthma, and allergies.


Topics: keep beauty products away from kids, beauty products can harm kids, personal care products poisoning

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