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Alcohol Poisoning in Children Contributed to Hand Sanitizer

MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) More children are being treated for alcohol poisoning. The culprit: hand sanitizers.

According to the Georgia Poison Control, control center hot lines across the country have seen close to a 400 percent spike in calls concerning children under the age of 12 ingesting hand sanitizer. The Regional Poison Control Center at Children's of Alabama said more than 250 calls have come in this year. According to the Drug Education Council, some teenagers are consuming the germ killer to get drunk.

"Yea that's definitely scary," said mother April Siotis. "I don't use traditional hand sanitizer because of the alcohol content."

It only takes a few pumps or squirts of hand sanitizer for small children to get alcohol poisoning.

Unlike drinking alcohol, hand sanitizer has concentrated amounts of alcohol, according to Drug Education Council Executive Director Virginia Guy. Some hand sanitizers contain 95% alcohol.

Ingesting a few squirts can result in poisoning. Guy said the fruit scents appeal to children.

"That's really so tragic," said Guy. "Parents need to make sure they've got these kind of products out of kids reach or locked up."

Some teenagers are using the germ killer to get drunk.

"If you've got teenagers you need to know that some teens are intentionally drinking this to get high because it does have a concentrated amount of alcohol in it and it's very dangerous," said Guy.

Alcohol poisoning can cause slow breathing, confusion, vomiting, seizures, coma, and death according to the Mayo Clinic.

"I didn't know that. That's very surprising," said Tonya McIntyre. "I just thought it was used to get their hands clean but to get high that's really surprising."

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