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Cosmetics are most common cause of poisoning in Utah

By Ashley Kewish | Posted - Dec. 19, 2011 at 4:42 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah poison control gets hundreds of calls each day, but the most common concern is when children ingest cosmetics or personal care products.

People often put child locks on cabinets that carry things like household cleaners, or medicines, but many of us don't think twice about areas that house cosmetic products. Things like perfumes, powders and lotions, can pose a bigger risk than you might think.

Cosmetic products and personal care items aren't even a blip on their radar. But poison control says they should be.

"(In) every room in the home, there's some form of cosmetic or personal care item," Dr. Barbara Crouch with the Utah Poison Control Center. "In children less than 6 years of age, the most common category (of poisoning) is cosmetics and personal care items - by far."

Items like nail polish remover, lotion, and toothpaste can all harm your child. At the top of the list are those products containing alcohol like mouthwash.

Tips on preventing poisoning
  • Store all household products and medicines out of reach and out of sight of small children and pets.
  • Store all medicines separately from household products and household chemicals away from food.
  • Always read the label before using and follow the instructions on medicines, cleaners, pesticides, automotive, lawn and garden products for their proper use.
  • Warning: First Aid instructions on product labels are often incorrect or dangerous.
  • Never store potential poisons in containers used for eating and drinking. Store all potential poisons in their original, labeled containers. Leave the original labels on all products.
  • Never refer to medicine as candy to a young child.
  • Avoid taking medication in front of small children.
  • Turn on a light when taking or giving medication.
  • When you are using household chemical products and medicines, never let them out of your sight, even if you must take them along when answering the telephone or doorbell.
  • Clean out your medicine cabinet periodically.
  • Use child resistant closures.
  • Remember that carbon monoxide exposures are considered a poisoning.

    Source: Utah Poison Control Center
  • "Kids love to mimic what parents do. They don't see that we spit out the mouthwash, said Dr. Crouch.

    Mouthwash contains a high amount of alcohol, enough to seriously injure a child if they swallow too much.

    "It's a central nervous system depressant so they can become unresponsive if their blood alcohol goes up high enough, and in children it can also lower their blood sugar," she said.

    Perfumes and colognes also contain a high percentage of alcohol. Hair products can be a real danger as well.

    Even baby oil, seemingly harmless, can be "very dangerous" and can get into a child's lungs.

    Safety experts recommend you move any cosmetic products or personal care items to a place children can't reach, or even better, put it in a locked cabinet. If your child does end up swallowing one of these products, call poison control immediately.

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