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Shocking figures Hand sanitizer, bleach, alcohol and firelighters among products accidentally consumed by children

Half of the 11,400 calls received by the National Poisons Information Centre last year related to children under four

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Child using hand sanitiser. Stock image

Child using hand sanitiser. Stock image

Child using hand sanitiser. Stock image

Thousands of calls were made to the National Poisons Information Centre last year relating to children who had consumed various potentially lethal products including hand sanitizer, bleach, alcohol and firelighters. 

By far the most common household product consumed by children was Paracetamol which accounted for over 1,000 calls.

However, there were also 300 calls about children consuming hand sanitiser, a product that is become more commonly used in households since the pandemic.

According to Freedom Of Information figures released to Newstalk, almost half of the 11,400 calls received by the National Poisons Information Centre last year related to children under four.

The centre also got 131 calls about children consuming dishwasher tablets last year, and 93 related to the consumption of firelighters.

Dr Paddy Fitzpatrick, consultant in paediatric emergency medicine with Children's Health Ireland, told how cleaning agents can cause serious damage to children.

"We can sometimes see corrosive injuries in the mouth or the food or windpipe,” he said. "Sometimes cleaning agents can be aspirated or can end up in the lungs, and cause significant respiratory and chest symptoms.

"In sufficient quantities, depending on the toxicity of the product, they can lead to very serious side effects.

"It can include neurological side effects, and occasionally could even be fatal."

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