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  • Cosmetics Are Not Toys: Personal Care Products That Can Be Harmful to Your Child

    Be careful when your child starts playing with your hair styling products or perfume bottles.
    by Kate Borbon .
Cosmetics Are Not Toys: Personal Care Products That Can Be Harmful to Your Child
PHOTO BY iStock
  • The results can be hilarious when your child plays with your lipstick or your pressed powder, but be careful when you let your child play with your cosmetics. A recent study in the U.S. has found that thousands of children are taken to the emergency room due to injuries related to personal care products.

    Researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital tracked a total of 64,686 injuries between 2002 and 2016. They gathered data on children less than 5 years old who had been treated in emergency departments in hospitals for cosmetics-related injuries based on the National Electric Injury Surveillance System.

    The research, published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, showed that children regularly experience chemical burns and poisoning due to cosmetics.

    Of the injuries recorded during the 15-year research period, 28.3% were associated with nail care products, 27% with hair care products, 25% with skin care products, and 12.7% with fragrance products.

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    Children younger than 2 years were most vulnerable to these injuries (59.3%). A majority of cases involved poisoning (86.2), while the remaining 13.8% involved chemical burns. In 19.3% of cases, the products made contact with the children’s eyes or skin.

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    Why children are prone to cosmetics-related injuries

    It’s not hard to see why kids might get enticed into experimenting with their parents’ personal care and cosmetic products. Aside from the fact that many of these products usually come in attractive, eye-catching packaging, children might want to try them out after seeing them being used by their parents on a regular basis.

    “When you think about what young children see when they look at these products, you start to understand how these injuries can happen,” Rebecca McAdams MA, MPH, a senior research associate at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital who served as co-author of the study, tells the New York Post.

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    She continues, “Kids this age can’t read, so they don’t know what they are looking at. They see a bottle with a colorful label that looks or smells like something they are allowed to eat or drink, so they try to open it and take a swallow. When the bottle turns out to be nail polish remover instead of juice, or lotion instead of yogurt, serious injuries can occur.”

    The study also found that children who are less than 2 years old are twice as likely to get injured by cosmetic products, compared to children between 2 to 4 years old. As the researchers point out, stages of childhood development plays a part on why children less than 2 years old are more prone to cosmetics-related injuries. It is a milestone when kids can crawl and grab things at around 6 months old. At around 1 year old, they are usually able to pull themselves upright and walk and can reach across surfaces and manipulate doors. They also tend put anything in their mouths.

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    “These new abilities and the natural curiosity that accompanies them, coupled with a lack of previous experience in discriminating between harmful and neutral or pleasant stimuli … can help explain why children less than 2 years of age are at greater risk,” McAdams tells CNN.

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    How to protect kids from cosmetics-related injuries

    McAdams shares that most of the products involved in the incidents her team studied did not have child-resistant packaging. “Since these products are often stored in easy-to-reach places and are not typically in child-resistant containers, it can be easy for kids to get to and open the bottles,” she says.

    To avoid possible injuries, experts advise parents to store their cosmetics and other personal care products in areas their young children will not be able to access easily by themselves. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests making use of cabinets that are not only hard to reach but also secured with safety locks or latches when storing cosmetics but also medicines, while products like toothpaste, shampoo, and soap are to be stored where a toddler cannot reach

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    Jay Ansell, vice president of cosmetic programs at the Personal Care Products Council, which is a national trade association for the cosmetic products industry in the U.S., has the same sentiments. “This study shows again that young children are curious and will eat or drink almost anything, including your cosmetics and personal care products,” he tells CNN.

    “The Personal Care Products Council (TCPC) and our members agree that it’s important to keep all the products in our homes like medicines, vitamins, cleansers and cosmetics and personal care products stored and out of reach of young children.”

    For poison-related emergency, call the National Poison Control and Management Center hotline at +6 (32) 524-1078

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