Report: rising number of American kids are getting drunk off hand sanitizer

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Everyone knows teens know how to party, but if Georgia Poison Control is to be believed, kids under 12 are showing their hard-living acumen by getting drunk off hand sanitizer at an increasing clip.

According to a report in Medical Daily, there's been a 400 percent increase since 2010 in calls concerning children 12 and under who have consumed hand sanitizer, both in order to get intoxicated and also due to confusion over whether it's food. CNN reports the number of calls jumped from 3,266 to 16,117 from 2010 through 2014.

The practice reportedly began in New Zealand but is creeping toward epidemic status due in part to a proliferation of YouTube videos.


A bottle of hand sanitizer contains between 45 to 90 percent alcohol and the equivalent of five shots, according to BuzzFeed. Due to this high alcohol content, kids get drunk much, much faster than they would if they snuck into the liquor cabinet, and are therefore more likely to develop alcohol poisoning.

CNN notes the story of a six-year-old who was admitted to a hospital with a blood alcohol of .179, over 22 times the legal limit, after drinking "three of four squirts" of a scented hand sanitizer.

"A kid is not thinking this is bad for them,"Dr. Gaylord Lopez, director of the Georgia Poison Center, told CNN. "A lot of the more attractive (hand sanitizers) are the ones that are scented. There are strawberry, grape, orange-flavored hand sanitizers that are very appealing to kids."

This isn't exactly a new problem. As the study notes, the numbers have been on the rise since the start of the decade. In 2012, the Albuquerque Police Department began reaching out to businesses to request that hand sanitizer and mouthwash not be sold to teens or intoxicated-looking individuals after several homeless people died as a result of mixing the two products.


So, parents: talk to your kid about being safe, keep the hand sanitizer somewhere they do not have access to it, or switch to the foam variety which is harder to extract alcohol.

Kids and teens: don't drink hand sanitizer.

[H/T Raw Story]

Editor's Note: This story's headline has been updated to more accurately reflect the number of kids drinking hand sanitizer.


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