Researchers found that between 2002 and 2016, an estimated 64,686 children below the age of five visited emergency rooms across the country for injuries caused by everyday cosmetic products. Altogether, this comes down to a child visiting the emergency room every two hours as a result of cosmetic products.
Most parents don’t realize that the items common to their home, such as nail polish, perfume, hair relaxer, moisturizer, skin oil, and deodorant, can potentially be harmful to children and should be locked up just like medicines are.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital published their findings on the risks of these products in the journal Clinical Pediatrics. Unfortunately, many cosmetics smell good, resemble food, are easy to open, and are left on counter tops in easy reach of children.
The research took into account the data of 2,429 emergency room admissions between January 1, 2002, and December 31, 2016, from around 100 hospitals, including eight specifically for children and included factors such as the age of the patient as well as where and how they were injured.
The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) run by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) monitors consumer products linked to emergency department admissions and offered all the data alongside U.S. Census Bureau data to calculate the figures for injury rates per 10,000 children aged 5 or younger.
Boys are more likely to harm themselves
Researchers found that most of the kids that were hospitalized were below two years of age, and boys were more likely to harm themselves, making up 51 percent of the total subjects in the study; boys were also more likely to be hospitalized at 58 percent.
Seventy-five percent of the injuries were due to products being swallowed while 19 percent of the cases were from products contacting the skin or eyes. Eighty-six percent were poisonings while chemical burns came to 13 percent.
The biggest culprit was hair products at 27 percent with nail products coming in at second place with 17 percent. A further 12.7 percent of injuries were associated with fragrances.
The researchers have commented that these estimates are quite conservative considering the study only involved children that were hospitalized and not those who visited pediatric offices or poison control centers.
Kids like the colorful labels – but can’t read yet
Rebecca McAdams, senior research associate at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital told Newsweek: “When you think about what young children see when they look at these products, you start to understand how these injuries can happen.
“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.”
She noted that most likely, children are watching their parents use these products and simply want to imitate them.
“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.”
So, what does this mean for you? Keep your cosmetics up, away, and out of sight; no matter how young your child is, practice safe storage, and McAdams recommends that products remain in their original containers.