It's time to start kid-proofing your vanity. An eye-opening study found that personal care products sent nearly 65,000 children under the age of 5 to emergency rooms nationwide between 2002 and 2016. That’s about one child being taken to the hospital every two hours.
The most common injuries that required hospitalization came from hair care products, such as chemical relaxers, according to researchers at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio. Nail polish remover was responsible for the most emergency room visits.
Most injuries occurred when a child swallowed the product, or the product came in contact with the child’s skin or eyes. Nearly 99% of the injuries occurred at home. In most of the cases, patients were were treated at the ER and released, but the study noted that from 1999 to 2015, cosmetics were the cause of seven deaths among children.
Rebecca McAdams, who co-authored the report, pointed out that often cosmetics are marketed to look like food (think chocolate bar-shaped soap) and many children younger than 5 are unable to read labels. “They can’t look at a bottle and discern if it’s yogurt or lotion,” she explained to TODAY. “They are also curious and exploring the world by putting things in their mouth, and when that grape juice turns out to be purple nail polish remover, serious injuries can occur.”
Since most personal care products don’t come in child-resistant containers, McAdams stresses the importance of practicing safe storage. That means treating nail polish and deodorant the same way you would medication: up, away and out of sight.
McAdams recommends keeping products in their original containers when possible and in a locked cabinet. Caregivers should also save the number for Nationwide Poison Control Center in their phones.