7-Year-Old Gets Alcohol Poisoning at School From What?!


hand sanitizerI 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

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Dontribi Dontribi

At 7 years old the kid should know the difference.  If not there is a disconnect between parent and child...Teacher's aren't babysitters, they're educators.  That hand sanitizer stuff is great for helping start fires too, comes in handy when camping!  I know with my kids it only takes a second for them to get into something they shouldn't.

Me personally I don't think you need hand sanitizers everywhere.  We never had them growing up and we turned out fine!  Give your immune system something to do otherwise it gets bored....

starr... starrsitter

First, no. This teacher is not to blame. Especially, if like I was, she was forced by the school to have the crap in her room to begin with. 7 year olds should know better. Hell, my 3 year old knows better.

Second, let's keep cutting education spending and increasing class sizes and expect teachers to see EVERY stupid little thing that kids do. Let me know how that works out.

EvaSa... EvaSamuel

Precisely why I don't keep

hand sanitizer in my classroom. I teach middle school and there are those who would try this.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I think we should blame whoever made the decision to have hand sanitizer sitting around the classroom whether that was the teacher or the administration or over zealous parents. Even the kids who aren't deliberately drinking the stuff are ingesting it on a daily basis. Every day I'm in school at snack time I see kids pumping it on, slathering it all over their hands, and then sitting down to eat their snacks with their hands sometimes quite literally dripping with the stuff. I've had to wipe down food with paper towels because the stuff is slathered all over like it's a condiment and that's just not safe.

Beths... Bethsunshine

Hand sanitizer is terrible for your immune system anyway, which is why we don't use the crap. A 7 year old is certainly old enough to know what is safe to drink and what isn't. At least, they SHOULD know unless they have some sort of mental problem. I can't imagine ANY child consuming enough of that stuff to get alcohol poisoning. The smell is enough to churn my stomach and it also gives me migraines, which is ANOTHER reason why we don't use it. The father should be blaming HIMSELF for not teaching his child to drink things she shouldn't.

Freela Freela

During the H1N1 scare, the schools in our area went crazy with the hand sanitizer, and I always worried about it for just this reason.  The alcohol content is so high that, for a small child, even a very small amount can be very dangerous.  Most kids would know better than to actually drink sanitizer, but there could still be some danger in a child not rubbing the sanitizer in and then licking her hands, for instance.  It's a lot safer just to have soap and a sink, but takes more time/energy/money and thus a lot of schools are going with sanitizer.

Lokis... LokisMama

Ok...I know the stuff smells good, but drinking it?  Ugh. 

SandM... SandMsMama

maybe instead of transferring schools she should be transferring parents

Lori.D Lori.D

I agree with you all.A child at the age of 7 surely knows better,hell she said she was daredd,that in its self says she knew it was something she shouldn't be doing.Why the heck is the parents that find them selves in these situations blame the teachers. How about they take a step back to see how their parenting can prevent this from happening.I would really like to know if something like this ever happened in the home,after all I'm sure stuff has happened in the parents care too,maybe not as drastic. How many people remember being dared to do stuff when they was a kid? I remember i also remember knowing that I knew better and kids are sneaky an great at hiding an doing stuff right under the watchfull eye.Needless to say the dad an all parents need to use

Lori.D Lori.D

....this to prevent these kind of things from happening, be more aware just how sneaky kids can be and use the best tool we have our memory of being a kid once before!!

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