THE FIRST baby shampoo debuted in the 1950s. Johnson & Johnson marketed the product with the slogan “no more tears.” Decades later, it turned out there was something to cry about in the supposedly gentle shampoo: It contained trace amounts of a known carcinogen, formaldehyde, an unintended byproduct of its ingredients.
The company changed the formula in 2014. But that doesn’t mean the risk to kids from personal care products has vanished.
A new report, published in Clinical Pediatrics, finds that many such concoctions (especially those used for hair, skin and nails) sold by many different companies are landing kids in the emergency room.
According to the researchers, 64,686 children younger than 5 visited ERs for injuries related to care product caused by ingestion, contact with skin or eyes, poisoning and chemical burns from 2002 through 2012. That’s about one child every two hours. Roughly 17% of those ER visits were from contact with nail polish remover. It contains flammable acetone, which is also used as paint thinner. Among kids who subsequently had to be hospitalized, relaxers and other chemical-based hair treatments were the most common hair-product culprits. These specialty products contain additives such as sodium hydroxide (lye), which is also used to break down animal carcasses, manufacture paper and clear clogged drains.
So Mom and Dad, keep personal care products of all types on hard-to-reach shelves or in a closed, childproof (locked) cabinet that’s out of sight. Your wrinkle eraser might make you happy, but it could put a wrinkle in your child’s health!