WA child ingests hand sanitiser prompting urgent Consumer Protection warning

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Caitlyn RintoulThe West Australian
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Parents are warned to be vigilant with keeping their children safe from hand sanitiser.
Camera IconParents are warned to be vigilant with keeping their children safe from hand sanitiser. Credit: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

A six-year-old WA child has been hospitalised after swallowing between 30 and 60ml alcohol-based hand sanitiser causing a shocking blood alcohol reading of 0.18, prompting an urgent health warning to parents.

The child had been taken to a Perth hospital with “acute intoxication”, but has since made a full recovery.

At the time of ingestion, the child had been pretending to host a tea party and poured the hand sanitiser into a teacup before drinking out of it.

Consumer Protection have urged WA parents to keep sanitiser bottles out of reach of children.

The shock health warning comes after Perth and Peel went into a snap three-day lockdown over the long weekend after a hotel quarantine failure.

Lifted at 12.01am Tuesday, residents are still subject to mandatory mask rules both indoors and outdoors, as well as new social distancing and venue capacity restrictions until Saturday.

Poison centres across Australia have seen an increase in adverse reports involving these products.

Consumer Protection Commissioner Lanie Chopping said parents and carers should be extra vigilant now households and schools were 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.

“As a highly flammable product, it should also be kept away from any type of open flame.

“Poison centres across Australia have seen an increase in adverse reports involving these products.”

Ms Chopping said Consumer Protection was working with the ACCC and suppliers to make sure hand sanitiser was not sold in packaging that resembles food or drink bottles to lessen the chance that they would be mistaken for a drink.

If hand sanitiser is ingested, call the Poisons Information Centre immediately on 13 11 26 — open 24 hours a day — to seek urgent medical advice.

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