It is a product that most new mothers have either in the home or in their nappy bag. Hand sanitiser, a fast and effective solution for reducing the spread of germs.
Kirri Garvey, Sydney based mother of three, wants all parents to realise the danger of hand sanitiser in the home and the need to store them safely after her toddler daughter was rushed to Westmead Children’s Hospital dangerously unwell.
Kirri was home with her husband and older children when her 2 year old daughter Winter staggered unsteadily into the room and began falling asleep despite having already napped that day. Kirri instinctively knew something was not right.
“I took her upstairs to my husband and then she started vomiting and didn’t really stop. She was sitting but swaying and then she fell unconscious.” While her husband watched her daughter, Kirri ran to call an ambulance knowing something was seriously wrong with her precious daughter.
While on the phone to the ambulance Kirri could only watch helplessly as her daughters jaw clenched and her leg muscles “spasmed and cramped in a way I had never seen”.
It was at this time her older children found the hand sanitizer. Little Winter had been squirting it into a medicine cup.
Exactly how much Winter consumed was unclear but paramedics raced an unconscious Winter to the Westmead Children’s Hospital where a team were on stand by for her.
Royal Children’s Hospital’s Dr Michael Barrett has said the products have a role to play in preventing infections, but parents, carers and authorities needed to be aware that they could be dangerous and place them out of reach of children.
Kirri explained “The silly thing is I have never used the hand sanitizer, forgot I even had it! I still don’t know where she found it!”.
Only a small amount of the hygiene product needed to be ingested by a child to develop a severe ethanol toxicity.
“You are dealing with a product that has a really high alcohol level in it: 60-90 percent. A beer may have 4.8 percent alcohol and a glass of wine 10-15 percent,” Dr Barrett told The Herald Sun.
After liasing with Poisons Information and being admitted to Westmead Children’s Hospital Winter was finally discharged into the watchful arms of her parents. Kirri shared “We are following up with our GP to make sure there are no long lasting effect. If I had thought about it I would have realized it had alcohol in it but probably wouldn’t have thought it would cause that kind of reaction in a child.”
Image: Kirri’s two-year-old daughter is home safe and sound now but Kirri warns all Mum’s to be aware of storing hand sanitiser out of reach.
Do you have hand sanitiser in your home? Do you have it stored away safely out of reach?
Michelle is a travel loving, bike riding mum to two who loves to blog over at Gee You’re Brave about living life and parenting with an adventurous spirit. Michelle has a Masters in Special Education, currently works at an Art Teacher for children with an intellectual disability and is passionate about helping children express themselves and reach their full potential. Michelle would love to connect with you Facebook or Instagram.
Image (of daughter) credit: Captured by Kirri.