Health experts warn schools and parents after kindergarten child in Pennsylvania allegedly ingested hand sanitizer on second day of class and was hospitalized with a surprising blood alcohol level of 0.23 .
The incident allegedly took place at JH Brooks Elementary School in Moon Township, according to CBS KDKA in Pittsburgh.
Barry Balaski, superintendent of the Moon Area School District, told Fox News in an email that the health and well-being of the students is a priority.
âAs part of our district health and safety plan and in accordance with CDC guidelines for schools, the district provides hand sanitizing stations available in each of our schools,â Balaski said. Additionally, students are permitted to have hand sanitizer in their desks or backpack. However, students are not required to keep it in their desks or backpack, especially if a parent / guardian doesn’t want them to have it. “
Balaski continued, âEducation is an important part of our health and safety initiatives. Our teachers often talk to students about the elements of our health and safety plan. In addition, we hope that parents will also continue to educate their children at home. “
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A spokesperson for the Moon Area School District told Fox News they could not confirm whether the incident took place or not.
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) told Fox News it also had no information on the case, although Dr Michael Lynch, medical director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center, said that ‘Over the past 18 months, there had been an increase of over 56% in hand. exposure to a disinfectant in Pennsylvania.
Most of these children were in kindergarten or younger. About 6% of those cases resulted in hospital visits, according to Lynch and UPMC.
The mother, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke to KDKA.
âThe principal called and said to go to school immediately,â the girl’s mother told the station. “She was walking a little shaky down the hall. By the time they got into the classroom, into the dining room, she fell down and couldn’t sit up straight.”
The child was apparently rushed to the children’s hospital where, hours later, she “came”, although her mother said she was not sure what had happened. until the school calls again, according to KDKA.
âThis class, each student has their own disinfectant pump bottle at their desks with their name on it for their personal use,â the mother added. “My daughter had consumed half of that bottle. She consumed 6 ounces of 70% alcohol.”
The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) has been tracking 15,867 cases of exposure to hand sanitizer in children 12 years of age and under as of August 31, 2021.
That number fell from 2020, when 21,074 cases of exposure to hand sanitizer were reported in 55 poison control centers – a rate almost 70% higher compared to the same period in 2019, before the pandemic. .
Most hand sanitizers contain more than 60% ethyl alcohol, which is a higher alcohol concentration than most hard alcohols, the AAPCC wrote on its website, noting that even a small amount. amount of alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning in children.
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“Alcohol poisoning can cause confusion, vomiting and drowsiness, and in severe cases respiratory arrest and death,” wrote the AAPCC, adding: “Many hand sanitizers come in brightly colored bottles, can be covered in glitter and smell like food or candy. This type of packaging makes them very tempting to young children. “
“While a child who licks a small amount of hand sanitizer off their hands is unlikely to get sick, a child ingesting more than a taste of hand sanitizer could be at risk for alcohol poisoning.”
In a Facebook Live on September 8, a panel of medical experts met up with the child safety nonprofit Safe Kids Worldwide, to share back-to-school safety tips.
As for children carrying their own hand sanitizers, experts have advised precautions like having a conversation with your child about the dangers behind them.
“You also have to be very careful that they recognize that they may be around young children who may not necessarily know that these things are not toys … that these things are not candy and should not be put on them. in their mouths, “said Jennifer Q. Tran, director of the Children’s National Safety Center and medical assistant at Children’s National Hospital in Washington DC.
Regarding schools, Tran suggested teachers keep designated hand sanitizing stations at their desks so it is in a supervised, safe and accessible location.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the best way for children to get rid of germs, including COVID-19.
Emily Samuel, program director at Safe Kids Worldwide, said it is expected that there will be more cleaning and sanitizers in the home – including hand sanitizers – as families continue to take precautions during the pandemic.
So monitoring is the key.
âAnd while it can be difficult with multiple priorities between home, work and a child’s in-person or virtual education, we are sharing 3 more tips with parents and caregivers,â Samuel told Fox News .
– Store household products out of the reach and sight of children.
Young children are often at eye level with items on counters and under kitchen and bathroom sinks, so keep cleaning supplies, sanitizers, and hand sanitizers where children can’t. not reach or see them. Caregivers can also use cabinet locks or latches for an extra layer of protection.
-Keep household products in their original containers and read product labels to learn how to use and store products safely.
Children can get into things quickly, so remember not to leave cleaning products or disinfectants unattended while you are using them and store the products, out of reach and sight, immediately after using them.
-Save the Poison Control Help number in your phone and display it visibly at home in case a child gets into cleaning products or disinfectants: 1-800-222-1222.
Poison Center Specialists provide free, confidential, expert medical advice 24 hours a day. They can answer questions and help with poison emergencies.
* The American Association of Poison Control Centers advises that if a person collapses, has a seizure, has difficulty breathing, or does not respond, families should call 911 immediately.