I understand why Glen Grant is planning to transfer his 7-year-old daughter, Christy, to a new school. If my second-grader got alcohol poisoning from drinking hand sanitizer in her classroom, I'd be somewhat reluctant to send her back there myself. And I guess I agree with Grant when he says that "under supervision, [the incident] never would have happened."
That said ... who would expect a 7-year-old to drink hand sanitizer?!?! Maybe Christy was under adequate supervision.
The smell of hand sanitizer alone is enough to make me feel like I'm going to pass out! Poor little Christy doesn't remember anything from around 3 p.m., when she drank the sanitizer, to sometime after 7 p.m., when she woke up at the hospital (where she was rushed, unconscious, in an ambulance). But she does recall being dared by another kid to drink the stuff.
What I really want to know is how much did she drink?? The school apparently told Grant that Christy consumed no more than one or two pumps; the doctor at the hospital said her blood alcohol level was way too high for her to have ingested that little. The reason why I want to know how much is because I'm trying to figure out how long it took her to drink it -- how long, exactly, was she left unsupervised?
Thanks to a little help from my co-workers here at The Stir, I have this knowledge to offer: Alcohol content-wise, the average hand sanitizer gel is approximately 120 proof. (Jack Daniel's and Absolut, by comparison, are about 80 proof.) Also, we have anecdotal evidence of a teenager getting alcohol poisoning from drinking 9 shots of vodka in 45 minutes.
So, figure it would take a 7-year-old maybe 3 shots in 15 minutes to get alcohol poisoning? Except the hand sanitizer is stronger, so maybe 3 pumps in ... 5 minutes?
I can't imagine any kid could choke down more hand sanitizer than 3 pumps, anyway.
All of which adds up to: I don't think the girl was left "unsupervised" for all that long. In fact, the teacher might have merely had her back turned to help another student with a problem on the chalkboard or something.
It's a shame Christy got sick -- scary as hell. But I don't think we need to overhaul school hand sanitizer policy or take any other drastic measures to prevent further incidents.
Personally, I'm chalking this one up as a very, very unfortunate fluke.
Do you think the teacher should be blamed for this little girl drinking hand sanitizer?
Image via Liz West/Flickr