Kids Drinking Hand Sanitizer to Get Drunk Is Apparently a Big Problem Now

hand sanitizerYou know what they say about kids: They love getting drunk on hand sanitizer! Wait, what?! No, really. Apparently kids are all about drinking hand sanitizer now, and since hand sanitizer is generally between 45 and 95 percent alcohol, that's a big problem -- a "bigger problem than originally thought," according to poison control centers. 

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According to the Georgia Poison Center, since 2010, there's been an almost 400 percent increase in calls of kids 12 and under ingesting hand sanitizer in the U.S.: In 2010, the center had 3,266 cases of kids ingesting hand sanitizer; in 2014, it increased to 16,117.

Okay, I guess it is a problem then. But why?? We're talking about young kids, here -- a demographic that's not generally known for raiding their parents' liquor cabinets or lifting six packs from the neighborhood bodega. Could it be the taste? According to CNN, one 6-year-old admitted to downing "three or four squirts of the liquid while at school" because "it tasted good, like strawberry." (That same 6-year-old ended up in the ER with alcohol poisoning, slurring her words and unable to walk.)

Still, I can't imagine that hand sanitizer -- even if many of them are packaged to look like something appetizing, with cupcakes and berries on their oftentimes sparkly labels -- tastes THAT great. I mean, even the most dessert-inspired varieties still smell vaguely like something you'd use to kill germs on your kitchen counter. Of course, I can't be sure. I've never tried the stuff, and most likely never will (unless we're a year or so into a zombie apocalypse and there's no actual booze left in the world).

More from The Stir: 7-Year-Old Gets Alcohol Poisoning at School From What?!

People drinking hand sanitizer to get drunk would make a lot more sense if those people were, I don't know, prisoners. Or some secondary alcoholic character on a sitcom who's trying to sneak a drink without his family figuring it out (yes, I am thinking of Tom Hanks as the alcoholic, vanilla extract–drinking uncle on Family Ties). 

I guess the lesson here is that kids will put any-freaking-thing in their mouths unless you tell them otherwise (and sometimes even then). So warn your kids about not drinking hand sanitizer, or just buy the boring plain kind instead of the irresistible flavored kind.

 

Image via Morten Rand-Hendrickson/Flickr

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