Fresh + Informative Health News

Beyond baby proofing

Could the products on your bathroom counter harm your child?

Article Author: Juliette Allen

Article Date:

cosmetics on counter

You’ve covered all sharp corners on your furniture, installed baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs, and anchored your dresser to the wall. Your house is now hazard-free, right? Maybe not.

New research reveals that household cosmetic products send children in the United States to the emergency room every two hours. Common offenders include shampoo, skin products and nail polish remover.

“They’re brightly colored, and some of them look or even smell like food,” said Daniel Thimann, MD, a pediatric emergency medicine physician with the Wolfson Children’s Emergency Center and Emergency Resources Group. “For example, think about coconut-scented products.”

The study identified nail polish remover as the product that caused the most injuries in children.

“Parents don’t routinely think of these products as poisonous or dangerous to kids, so they tend to leave them out in the open,” Dr. Thimann said.


Can a little shampoo leave your child in serious condition?

Dr. Thimann said in his personal experience, ER visits due to ingestion of cosmetics are relatively rare.  He said he more commonly sees kids who have ingested prescription medications belonging to family members or visitors.

So why are the national numbers so high?

“I think it could be because parents panic when they realize their child has eaten something he or she shouldn’t have,” Dr. Thimann said. “The vast majority of these ingestions are non-toxic.”

Dr. Thimann said ingestion of shampoo or lotion could lead to nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Acetone products such as nail polish remover, certain bath products and fragranced sprays could cause superficial burns, similar to sunburn, on the skin.

While it may be a parent’s first instinct to grab his or her child and rush to one of Wolfson Children’s four children’s ERs, Dr. Thimann recommends first calling the Poison Control Hotline at 1.800.222.1222, even if it’s on the way to the ER. Experts who answer the hotline will tell parents what to do next.

Put away the products

Safe storage is critical to making sure your products stay out of tiny hands. Dr. Thimann recommends you:

  • Keep beauty products and medications in high areas, out of reach of children
  • Consider keeping cosmetics in locked boxes or cabinets
  • Never store cosmetic products in other containers. As Dr. Thimann put it, “For example, if you’re storing gasoline in a Gatorade bottle, guess who is going to drink it?”
  • Keep essential oils out of reach of children. While they’re not harmful when used properly, if ingested they can cause health issues.

Wolfson Children’s Hospital has the most experienced board-certified pediatric emergency medicine teams in the region, ready to treat children for a wide variety of illnesses and ailments. Additionally, Wolfson Children’s Hospital is the only state-designated Pediatric Trauma Center in the region, caring for the area’s most critically injured children. Wolfson Children’s has four emergency centers located throughout Jacksonville and Clay County, and coming soon to Oakleaf Town Center and Baptist Medical Center South.

Source: CBS News

Get fresh-picked headlines delivered to your inbox.

Thank you, you're subscribed!


Stories by Topic

Related stories