NEW YORK (CNN) – Cosmetic products such as perfume, nail polish and shampoo help us feel and look good. But in the wrong hands – especially those of the very young – these products can be harmful or even deadly. More than 64,000 children in the United States younger than 5 years old had a cosmetic-related injury between 2002 and 2016, according to estimates in a study published Monday in the journal Clinical Pediatrics
. of exposure, location of the injury and other factors in children younger than 5 who were treated in US emergency departments.
The study noted that from 1999 to 2015 the cosmetics were the cause of seven deaths among children, according to the National Poison Data System
"Although a cosmetic product may not be harmful when used according to directions, it is important for parents and caregivers to know that a young child could be seriously injured by these products , "Rebecca McAdams, and research associate at Nationwide Children's Hospital, and an author of the study, said in an e-mail."
The authors have defined cosmetic products as those that "cleanse, beautify, promote attractiveness, or alter appearance." These include hair relaxers, nail polish, moisturizers, skin oils, deodorants and make-up. The products were categorized into five groups, based on how they're used: nail care, hair care, skin care, fragrance and other, including deodorants and makeup.
The most common injuries came from nail care products 28.3%), followed by hair care products (27%), skin care products (25%) and fragrance (1
The products most likely to be landed in the hospital? Hair relaxers and permanent solution. The children were more likely to have a chemical burn and more than three times as likely to be hospitalized when compared to all other products
The study also found that younger children had a higher risk of injury and hospitalization, with the average rate of injury in children less than 2 years of age being two times higher than children between the ages of 2 and 4. Those who were younger than 2 were also more likely to be injured by hair products. development could account for these injury risks, the study's authors wrote. By 6 months of age, many kids can crawl and grab things to put in their mouths. They can pull themselves up and walk by the time they are 1 year old, which allows them to close the door and reach across counters.
"These new abilities and the natural curiosity that accompanies them, coupled with a lack of previous experience in diagnosis between harmful and neutral or pleasant stimuli … can help explain why children less than 2 years of age are at higher risk, "McAdams wrote.
Every year, doctors in emergency departments across the country treat about 4,300 young children with cosmetic-related injuries on average. The number and rate of these injuries did not change significantly over the 15 year period. "This is not the case, but I do not think it's a good thing to do."
"People do not have a childhood home, which I say without judgment because my toddlers have gotten into many dangerous items and I do this for a living , "Dr. Emily MacNeill, a pediatric emergency medical doctor at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, said in a text message. MacNeill was not involved with the study
"This study shows that young children are curious and will eat or drink almost anything, including your cosmetics and personal care products," said Jay Ansell, vice president of cosmetic programs at the Personal Care Products Council, a national trade association for the cosmetic products industry, in an emailed statement. "The Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) and our members agree that it is important to keep all the products in our homes like medicines, vitamins, cleaners and cosmetics and personal care products stored and out of reach of young children."
study had limitations, including the fact that the data came only from US emergency departments and do not include cases that have been treated at home, emergency care or pediatric offices.
While the study did not show any increase in cosmetic-related injuries, it raises awareness that people should not "underestimate the risk of certain products, hair products specifically, "MacNeill wrote.
The best thing parents and child caregivers can do is keep their cosmetic products stored safely and in their original containers. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends storing cosmetic products like medications – locked in a place that's high and out of sight for young children.
If a child is accidentally exposed to a cosmetic product, parents and caregivers can call the national poison help line at -800-222-1222.
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