Experts warn about hand sanitizer that looks like kids applesauce

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Officials are warning parents to be on the lookout for a product that is supposed to protect your family from germs, but it could also cause harm.

“We’re always on the lookout for products that children might be exposed to or might be inappropriately attracted to,” said Scott Schaeffer, managing director of the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information.

Recently they added one new thing to that list; hand sanitizer pouches for kids. 

“They have a very similar appearance to an applesauce or one of the snack pouches that a child would use,” said Schaeffer. 

There are some small differences in the packaging, but experts say young children wouldn’t notice. 

“A 2-year-old can’t discriminate between that kind of thing. They’re used to having a good snack. They might see these and I can see where it’d be quite easy for them to assume it’s going to be something quite tasty for them,” he said. 

The consequences of drinking them could be serious. 

“The alcohol that’s in these products is a very high concentration. Think whiskey or even stronger than that, so a very small amount can have a very great impact on a small child,” said Schaeffer. 

So what happens if your child does get a hold of it?

“What we’d be looking for is something much like an adult getting drunk if you will, so if they start stumbling, slurring their speech, and ultimately our biggest concern would be if they lose consciousness,” he said. 

Since this pandemic started, Schaeffer says the center has seen an up-tick in calls for children drinking hand sanitizer. 

“I think part of that is one because people are being mindful about keeping their home clean, and safe,” he said. 

He says the best thing to do is keep these pouches out of reach. 

“If there’s cartoon characters on it and it’s not for a child, it probably is not the best thing to bring into the house,” said Schaeffer. 

Shaeffer says he has not heard reports of any local stores selling them, but says Oklahomans could be ordering them online. 

He says it’s not likely that a child would drink a lot because it would irritate their throat. 

If your child does drink hand sanitizer, call the poison and drug center at 800-222-1222. 

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