Most of us are on the lookout for things we consider household hazards — cleaning solutions, caustic substances, sharp objects, etc. — but there are actually more things to be aware of than you may have initially thought. According to new research, several common cosmetic and beauty products send thousands of kids to the E.R. every year and it happens at a pretty astonishing daily rate.
The new research, published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics on Monday, is from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Researchers found that between 2002 and 2016, a whopping 64,686 kids under the age of 5 were treated for accidents stemming from personal care products, according to Consumer Reports. And, as CBS News affiliate WBNS reported, that's a rate of roughly one child every two hours.
Researchers defined the products as anything to “cleanse, beautify, promote attractiveness, or alter appearance,” according to CNN. Five groups were created including nail care, hair care, skin care, fragrance, and other, which included deodorant and make-up.
About 75 percent of the injuries occurred when a child swallowed a product and 19 percent occurred when a product came in contact with a child’s eyes, according to the study. Nail polish remover caused the highest rate of injury for a single product, and nail products, in general, were the highest category of products to cause harm, at 28 percent. According to the research, hair products caused 27 percent of injuries and skin care was responsible for 25 percent.
Hair relaxers or permanent products were another that presented a particular problem because they have sodium hydroxide in them, according to pediatric toxicologist Dr. Jeffrey Fine, from NYU Langone Health. As he explained to U.S. News & World Report, that’s "the same stuff as in drain cleaner and oven cleaner. [And] an ingredient in artificial nail remover gets metabolized as cyanide." Kids who got into hair relaxers and permanent solutions were twice as likely to have chemical burns and were more than three times as likely to be hospitalized, as CNN reported.
Researcher and study co-author Rebecca McAdams pointed out that kids that age can’t read, especially such complex vocabulary, so they often don’t know what is in bottles, according to CBS News. "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," she explained, according to CBS News. "When the bottle turns out to be nail polish remover instead of juice, or lotion instead of yogurt, serious injuries can occur."
So what can parents and caregivers do to protect young ones? Since most bottles of personal care products do not have child-proof caps, as they're designed and marketed for adults, the best thing is to keep them safely stored, locked away and out of sight, according to CBS News. Also, parents can ensure that items are left in their original packaging and keep the phone number for the national Poison Help Line nearby for emergencies (800-222-1222) nearby, WBNS recommends. As U.S. News & World Report noted, Dr. Fine stressed that it’s important not to assume your child will stay out of things:
Kids can climb. A determined toddler can get into almost anything. You need to lock away these things. And when you take it out put it away again right away.
With all this said, enjoy and use your personal care products for their purposes, but always remember store them away in a safe place.