26 September 2023

Hand sanitisers not handy for children

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Consumer Protection has issued an urgent safety warning after a six-year-old child who had consumed hand sanitiser was admitted to a Perth hospital.

The child ingested between 30-to-60 millilitres of the alcohol-based hand sanitiser which could have resulted in serious health complications and injury.

However, the child made a full recovery.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Lanie Chopping said parents and carers of children should be extra vigilant as children could mistake the bottles of sanitiser for food or drink.

“With many households and schools now using hand sanitiser as part of their daily routines, it’s important to remember these products should be treated with extra caution around children,” Ms Chopping said.

“Most alcohol-based sanitisers contain upwards of 60 per cent alcohol content, meaning just a couple of mouthfuls can be enough to poison a child.”

She said poison centres across Australia had seen an increase in adverse reports involving these products.

“Given these products are packaged in a range of container types, including plastic bottles with pop-top lids, there is greater potential for them to be mistaken for food or drink,” Ms Chopping said.

“For this reason, Consumer Protection has joined the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in working with suppliers to make sure hand sanitiser is not sold in packaging that resembles food or drink bottles,” she said.

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