Babies and young children have been ingesting hand sanitiser in increasing rates amid the coronavirus pandemic, prompting an urgent health warning.
The product is being widely used in public and at home since the outbreak of COVID-19, with everyone urged to increase hygiene practices to stop the spread of the virus.
The NSW Poisons Information Centre has reported a rise in calls due to hand sanitiser exposure incidents.
Just a small amount of sanitiser can be harmful for young children and babies, Senior Poisons Specialist Genevieve Adamo says.
“Hand sanitiser products should be stored safely and out of reach of children,” Adamo said.
Most calls related to babies and young children who had ingested the product at home.
“When they are used by young children it should be under the supervision of an adult,” she said.
“Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is also a safe and effective option to help combat COVID-19.”
People making their own hand sanitiser could also increase the risk of potential poisoning.
Adamo said regardless of the quantity ingested, people should always call the information centre for first aid and advice, as ingesting hand sanitiser is dangerous.
“Calling the Poisons Information Centre first to see if you or your child needs to go to hospital may prevent unnecessary visits to the emergency department and will help to keep emergency departments free for emergencies,” Adamo said.
“In the current climate, it also prevents people increasing their risk of exposure to COVID-19.”