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Hand Sanitizer Accessibility Calls for Increased Poisoning Vigilance

September 24, 2020

As many facilities—from stores and health care buildings to schools and offices—are placing hand sanitizer in accessible areas and having cleaning staff disinfect surfaces throughout the day, they may not be thinking about children who enter the building.

With all the emphasis on cleaning during the pandemic, there has been a corresponding surge of calls to the Poison Help number about children being exposed to cleaning products, Safe Kids Worldwide reports.

For example, there has been a 70% percent increase in the number of hand sanitizer exposures reported to poison control centers from January to August compared to the same period in 2019. Exposure to all cleaning products and disinfectants were 20% higher between January to April 2020 compared to the same time in 2019. Bleaches accounted for the largest increase among all cleaning product categories, while nonalcohol disinfectants and hand sanitizers accounted for the largest percentages of the increase among disinfectants.

Antibacterial wipes, commonly used on shopping cart handles, doorknobs, faucets, and other highly-touched areas, may be placed at the entrance of buildings, prompting young children to pull a fresh wipe out of the container and place it in their mouths while their parents are distracted.

Safe Kids Worldwide offers three tips to help keep kids safe around cleaning products they may encounter while outside their home:

  1. Store cleaning products out of children’s reach and sight. 
  2. Keep cleaning products in their original containers. 
  3. Have the Poison Help number, 1-800-222-1222, accessible in case of emergency.  

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