Some 64,686 children under 5 have been treated at U.S. emergency rooms during a 15-year period for an injury caused by exposure to perfume, nail polish, makeup and other personal care products that help adults look and feel good. That is the equivalent of about one child every two hours.
The injury totals from 2002 to 2016 were reported in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, and were based on U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission data. Nearly all injuries (99 percent) occur at home, and children younger than 2 are hurt more often than 2- to 4-year-olds. The most common diagnosis is poisoning (86 percent of injuries), usually caused by children inhaling or swallowing a personal care or cosmetic product, but sometimes chemical burns result from children’s contact with a product (14 percent of injuries).
In the study data, nail polish remover was the most common culprit, causing 17 percent of children’s injuries, followed by fragrances (13 percent) and hair relaxers or permanent solutions (10 percent). But a variety of common products — shampoo, sunscreen, aftershave, deodorant, makeup and hand lotion — also resulted in injuries to children. The report’s authors, researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, urge parents to avoid keeping such products on dressers or countertops or in cabinets that are not locked. Children’s natural inquisitiveness, coupled with product packaging that is often colorful and easy to open and products that smell good, can make youngsters overly susceptible to injury. Instead, store these products as you would medication — high and out of young children’s reach.