Kids drunk on sanitizer?

November 12, 2009 9:00:00 PM PST
As the swine flu sweeps through schools and daycares across the county, parents everywhere are reaching for hand sanitizer in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.But one parent contacted ABC11 Eyewitness News after her 2-year-old was seemingly intoxicated after she used the product to clean his hands.

"He had all the look of someone having a neurologic event, someone having a stroke because he was not being able to walk," said Angie Dameron.

Dameron said her son Crawford appeared to be drunk after she and her husband put one squirt of hand sanitizer on him before eating.

"He's 2. He eats with his hands, so with the saliva doing this in and out of his mouth he got intoxicated off of one squirt," said Dameron. "After we finished dinner, we got him out of his high chair and went to stand him up and we could not stand him up. He fell."

"In a matter of 20 feet of him walking he fell 4 or 5 times. He couldn't stand up," she continued.

Dameron rushed her son to the emergency room and after lots of fluids he was okay.

But the Dameron's experience isn't unique. Experts with North Carolina's Poison Control Center say alcohol poisoning from hand sanitizer can happen and children are at the greatest risk.

Healthcare officials say it would take two handfuls to get the average toddler intoxicated. But if it happens, an intoxicated child runs the risk of going into a low blood sugar or diabetic coma.

Many hand sanitizers contain a high amount of alcohol. Some contain as much as 62 percent. That's more than vodka which is about 40 percent alcohol. So if parents want to avoid any problems with their kids, they should look for alcohol free.

"It's a good product. I'm not saying don't use it. I'm saying be careful with your little ones," said Dameron.

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