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Cosmetics injuries send more than 4,000 kids to the ER each year

Photo: Pixabay

By: Nancy Clanton, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Child-proofing a home typically focuses on making sure small children can’t get to chemicals or cleansers that can make them sick.

Parents need to go a step further and make sure cosmetics are out of reach, too, a new study in the journal Clinical Pediatrics found.

Using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital discovered more than 4,300 children are treated in emergency rooms each year for cosmetics-related injuries.

The study found that most injuries from these products occurred when a child swallowed the product (75.7%) or the product made contact with a child’s skin or eyes (19.3%). These ingestions and exposures most often led to poisonings (86.2%) or chemical burns (13.8%).

Children younger than 2 were most often hurt (59.3%). The most common diagnoses were associated with nail care (28.3%), hair care (27.0%), skin care (25.0%) and fragrance (12.7%) products.

“When you think about what young children see when they look at these products, you start to understand how these injuries can happen,” Rebecca McAdams, co-author of this study, said in a press release. “Kids this age can’t read, so they don’t know what they are looking at. 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. When the bottle turns out to be nail polish remover instead of juice, or lotion instead of yogurt, serious injuries can occur.”

Of the more serious injuries, more than half were from hair care products (52.4%) with hair relaxers and permanent solutions leading to more hospitalizations than all other products. The individual product that caused the most harm was nail polish remover (17.3% of all injuries).

“Because these products are currently not required to have child-resistant packaging, it is important for parents to put them away immediately after use and store them safely — up, away, and out of sight — preferably in a cabinet or closet with a lock or a latch,” said McAdams, who is also senior research associate in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s.

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