New American research has found that common everyday beauty and self-care products such as nail polish remover and shampoo, are sending one child to the hospital every two hours due to them swallowing or being exposed to products.
Carried out by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, United States, the new study used data gathered from the US National Electronic Injury Surveillance System to analyse the number of children under the age of five, who were treated in US emergency departments between 2002 and 2016 for an injury related to cosmetic products.
The researchers estimated that during the 15-year study period, 64,686 children younger than five were treated for injuries related to personal care products such as shampoo, lotion, makeup, nail polish and cologne – equivalent to about one child every two hours.
The findings, published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, also showed that most of the injuries were caused by children swallowing a product (75.7% of injuries) or when the product came into contact with a child’s skin or eyes (19.3%).
Ingesting or being exposed to a product most commonly led to poisonings (86.2%) or chemical burns (13.8%). Nail care products were the most common cause of injuries, accounting for 28.3% of emergency hospital visits, followed by hair care (27%), skin care (25%) and exposure to fragrance products (12.7%).
Nail polish remover was the product that led to the most number of visits to the emergency room, responsible for 17.3% of all injuries. Children under the age of two were also the most likely to be injured, making up 59.3% of emergency hospital visits.
“Children watch their parents use these items and may try to imitate their behaviour. 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,” said study co-author Rebecca McAdams.
“When you think about what young children see when they look at these products, you start to understand how these injuries can happen. Kids this age can’t read, so they don’t know what they are looking at.
“They see a bottle with a colourful 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 yoghurt, serious injuries can occur.”
The researchers advise parents and child carers to help keep children safe by being mindful of the following safety advice:
● Store all personal care products safely, up, away and out of sight in a cabinet that can be locked.
● Never leave personal care products out unattended and put them away immediately after use.
It is never too soon to start practising safe storage – almost 60% of the injuries in this study were to children younger than two years of age.
● Keep all personal care products in their original containers. – AFP Relaxnews