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Poisonings, burns from personal care products sending kids under 5 to the ER: study

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Columbus, OH — Every two hours, a young child is treated in the emergency room after ingesting or coming in contact with personal care products, such as shampoo and makeup, according to researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

The researchers reviewed 2002-2016 data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, looking for children younger than 5 who were treated for a cosmetic-related injury. They identified 64,686 cases, mainly poisonings and chemical burns. Nail (28.3%), hair (27%) and skin care products (25%) were the most common reason for the ER visits. Nail polish remover was the individual product that led to the most visits, accounting for 17.3% of the injuries.

Hair relaxers, permanent solutions and other hair care products, meanwhile, accounted for 52.4% of the injuries that required hospitalization.

Among CIRP’s advice to parents and caregivers:

  • Store all personal care products “up, away and out of sight.” A cabinet with a lock or latch is the best place.
  • Keep products in their original containers.
  • Save the Poison Help Line number – (800) 222-1222 – in your cellphone and post it in a prominent place in your home.

“Children watch their parents use these items and may try to imitate their behavior,” Rebecca McAdams, a senior research associate at CIRP, said in the release. “Since these products are often stored in easy-to-reach places and are not typically in child-resistant containers, it can be easy for kids to get to and open the bottles.

“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. These simple steps can prevent many injuries and trips to the emergency department.”

The study was published online June 16 in the journal Clinical Pediatrics.

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