Girl became dangerously intoxicated after tasting hand sanitizer

5-year-old became dangerously intoxicated after tasting hand sanitizer

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By Ron Savage
Fox 2 News


SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) -- It's a dangerous buzz hidden inside a place many parents might not suspect.  One mother was shocked to learn about it after her young daughter was rushed to the hospital.

Leanne Arndt's five-year-old daughter was dizzy at school and vomited.  Mom raced to school.  Westland Fire and EMS said they were rushing her to Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor.

"Once the blood tests came back that her ethanol levels were so high that they had never seen anything like that before they said, even in somebody who was severely intoxicated," Arndt explained.

The girl was intoxicated, but how?  Everyone was stumped.

"My mother was there, and my mother said, 'I bet you it's the hand sanitizer because they have a fascination with the smell.'  I said, 'Oh my gosh, mom, you're probably right.'  So when my daughter came to, I was able to talk to her about it, and she told me that she tried tasting several different flavors and the strawberry chocolate was her favorite," said Arndt.

"They told me that if the EMS did not run the IVs in her that I could have been burying my daughter."

They do smell good, but these hand sanitizers are not to be taken internally.

"They were telling me that a one ounce ingestion of it can intoxicate an adult, and it's about a 140 proof ethanol liquor," Arndt said.  "That's exactly what they compared it to is moonshine."

P.D. Graham Elementary School administration warned parents in an email about the sweet smelling hand sanitizers.

Meanwhile, how is our little five-year-old doing?

"She's doing really well," said Arndt.  "Once it got out of her system, probably about six or seven hours later she was fine.  She was a little drowsy, but other than that, she's been perfectly okay.  We don't know the long-term effects is what I'm kind of more concerned about."

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