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Your Child

Hand Sanitizers Poisoning Young Children


Poison control centers across America have been seeing an increase in calls about children who are getting very sick from drinking hand sanitizers. Poison control officials are warning parents and school officials about this dangerous trend involving small children, basically getting drunk, on hand sanitizer.

“A doctor called us about a week and a half ago about two cases he saw the same day at the ER,” says Gaylord Lopez, PharmD, director of the Georgia Poison Center. “It was a 5- and a 6-year-old.”

The first patient, a 6-year-old girl, was picked up after school stumbling and slurring her words. She’d also fallen and hit her head. Her mother drove her straight to the ER, where doctors found out she’d eaten two to three squirts of strawberry-scented hand sanitizer from a big container sitting on her teacher’s desk.

Her blood alcohol level was 1.79, almost twice what would be considered the legal limit in an adult.

The second case was a 5-year-old boy, who came in with a blood alcohol level of 2.0. The culprit was hand sanitizer.

Lopez checked the national data and saw these cases were part of an unrecognized trend. In 2010, U.S. poison centers got more than 3,600 calls about kids under age 12 eating hand sanitizers. By 2013, that number had swelled to more than 16,000 calls.

“That’s a 400 percent increase,” Lopez says. “I was surprised more than anyone.”

Many of the hand sanitizer bottles come in bright colors and the sanitizer itself smells like bubble gum and other tasty treats such as lemonade and vanilla. All aromas a child might mistake for the real thing.

The big problem with these products are that they can be anywhere from 40 to 95 percent alcohol.

Drinking even just little bit can make kids intoxicated. It’s like drinking a shot or two of hard liquor.

“You and I don’t have any problem sending our kids with hand sanitizer in their backpacks. But what if I told you that was twice as potent as vodka. That’s like a parent sending a bottle of whiskey or rum to school,” Lopez says.

Alcohol poisoning can cause a child’s heart rate, blood pressure and breathing to slow. They may stagger, seem sleepy and vomit. Their blood sugar can drop rapidly leading to seizures and coma.

Lopez says hand sanitizers are often included in the list of school supplies parents should send to school. He says many adults he’s talked to don’t realize that hand sanitizers contain so much alcohol, or they don’t realize that it’s the kind of alcohol that can cause intoxication.

“I wanted to get the word out. Parents should be aware. Teachers should be aware.”

If you have hand sanitizer at home, keep it out of the reach of young children. If you send hand sanitizer with your child to school- especially during the flu and cold season- use the wipes instead.

You can learn more about hand sanitizer poisoning by calling the American Association of Poison Control Center for free advice at 1-800-222-1222.

If you suspect your child may have ingested sanitizer and is showing any of the above symptoms, take your child to the hospital immediately.

Source: Brenda Goodman, MA,

Your Child

McDonald’s Recalls Kid's “Step-iT” Wristbands Due to Burns, Skin Irritations


About 29 million of McDonald’s “Step-iT” activity wristbands have been recalled in the U.S. due to skin irritations or burns to children.

The recall involves “Step-iT” activity wristbands, which come in two styles—“Activity Counter” and a motion-activated “Light-up Band.” The Activity Counter comes in translucent plastic orange, blue or green and features a digital screen that tracks a child’s steps or other movement. The Light-up Band comes in translucent plastic red, purple, or orange and blinks light with the child’s movement. Both styles of activity wristbands have a square face with the words “STEP-iT” printed on them and a button to depress and activate the wristband. The back of the square face contains the etched words “Made for McDonald’s.” 

The company has received more than 70 reports of incidents, including seven reports of blisters, after wearing the wristbands.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled wristbands from children and return them to any McDonald’s for a free replacement toy and either a yogurt tube or bag of apple slices.

The wristbands were distributed exclusively by McDonald’s restaurants nationwide, from August 9, 2016 to August 17, 2016 with Happy Meals and Mighty Kids Meals. 

Consumers can contact McDonald’s at 800-244-6227 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT daily, or online at and click on “Safety Recall” for more information. 

You can see all the models recalled on

Daily Dose

Pool or Trampoline? The Safety Debate

1.00 to read

Both pools and trampolines are fun for children, and both do pose dangers.I saw a patient today who asked me my opinion of trampolines. It seems that she and a friend, both of whom have elementary school age children, are having a discussion about trampolines. My patient is totally against having a trampoline in her yard, although she has a pool. Her friend says that it is safer to have a trampoline than a pool. And so their debate continues.

Both pools and trampolines are fun for children, and both do pose dangers. But as my own children often told me "according to you Mom, everything that is really fun, is dangerous!" The biggest issue surrounding children playing in pools and jumping on trampolines is parental supervision. When children are taught safety and are given rules to follow that are then enforced, they may have fun and be safe at the same time. Pools are fenced, and gated. Parents watch their children swim. This is usually the party line. But trampolines also require the same amount of supervision and many parents don't realize this. Most trampoline injuries occur when children are unsupervised. Many serious trampoline accidents occur when children of disproportionate weights are doubling jumping and the smaller child becomes a missile and is thrown from the trampoline when serious neck injuries may occur. Trampolines are also safest when they are buried in the ground or have safety nets on the side. Letting children jump unsupervised is as dangerous as swimming alone. So, I can't resolve this friendly discussion, but I do know that both pools and trampolines require parental supervision and strict safety rules to ensure the safest possible experience. And yes, they are both fun! That's your daily dose, we'll chat again soon.

Your Child

AAP Supports Flu Shots Instead of Nose Spray for Children


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that health care providers should not use the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) in the upcoming 2016-’17 flu season due to poor effectiveness. The LAIV is the nasal spray version of the annual flu vaccine.

Instead, the AAP recommends health care providers use the inactivated vaccine given by injection for flu prevention in children.

Academy leaders say they support the interim recommendation released this week, by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

“We agree with ACIP’s decision today to recommend health care providers and parents use only the inactivated vaccine for this influenza season,” said AAP President Benard Dreyer, M.D., FAAP.

Health officials reported Wednesday that the spray performed dismally for the third straight year, while the traditional flu shot — the one that stings — worked reasonably well this winter.

“We could find no evidence (the spray) was effective,” said Dr. Joseph Bresee, a flu expert at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The AAP recommends children ages 6 months and older be immunized against influenza every year. Previously, the CDC and AAP had recommended either form of flu vaccine – the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) that is given by injection and is approved for all patients older than 6 months, or LAIV which is given by intranasal spray and is approved for healthy patients ages 2 through 49 years.

However, the new data presented to the ACIP showed that currently only IIV provides protection against flu. The ACIP assessed data from the past three influenza seasons and cited evidence of poor effectiveness of LAIV during this time period.

Two years ago, experts suggested health care providers use AstraZeneca’s FluMist nasal spray to protect children against the flu. This week, a federal advisory committee on immunization withdrew its endorsement of the vaccine.

“We do understand this change will be difficult for pediatric practices who were planning to give the intranasal spray to their patients, and to patients who prefer that route of administration,” said AAP CEO/Executive Director Karen Remley, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H., FAAP. “However the science is compelling that the inactivated vaccine is the best way to protect children from what can be an unpredictable and dangerous virus. The AAP will be working with CDC and vaccine manufacturers to make sure pediatricians and families have access to appropriate vaccines, and to help pediatricians who have already ordered intranasal vaccines.”

During the winter that just ended, flu shots were nearly 50 percent effective against the flu strain that made most people sick. But FluMist didn’t work at all, CDC researchers said, citing preliminary results from a study of about 2,300 U.S. children.

Experts were particularly worried that FluMist hasn’t protected against H1N1, a type of flu that often causes more deaths and hospitalizations among children and young adults.

For now, health officials say that returning to the flu shot, instead of using the nasal spray, is the best option for preventing or minimizing the effects of the flu in children.

Story sources:

Mike Stobbe,

Daily Dose

Stranger Danger

1.30 to read

We had a question via our iPhone App from an aunt who wanted to talk to her twin 4 year old nephews about “stranger danger”. Unfortunately, this topic has been in the news quite frequently lately with child abduction cases being reported all around the country. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has numerous resources for educating children about safety.  Interestingly, most perpetrators are not actually strangers, but are often someone the parents or another adult knows and may have been around the child on occasion. So, it seems that “stranger danger” may not be the appropriate term to use when teaching our children, especially younger, children about safety. It is important that the conversation about safety begins with children at young ages. It is often easier to use teachable moments to begin the conversation with young children.  Talk to your child about “safe” strangers, as it is hard for a child to understand why you are talking to grocery store clerks, or people on the playground in the park, and yet they are strangers. It may be best to teach a child to watch out for dangerous behaviors from adults, rather than saying “never talk to strangers”.  Talk about adults who might approach them for directions, or to find a missing pet and role play as to what they should  do. At the same time, teach them that they can turn to “strangers” such a store clerks or mothers with children for help if they are scared. While talking about this subject use a calm reassuring manner.  You do not want to make your child “too” anxious as most people they will meet are not dangerous, and children do need to interact and trust numerous people around them that they will meet in  different situations. Another good way to discuss the issue of “stranger danger” is by reading books to young children that deal with the issue. Several good books that I like are:  The Berenstein Bears Learn About Strangers; A Stranger in the Park; I  Can Play it Safe.  There are many other books out there too, so head to your library  or your local bookstore to get some more recommendations. The librarians are often helpful with finding “age appropriate” books.  Lastly, this is not a one time conversation, but should be discussed at different ages and stages of your child’s That's your daily dose.  We'll chat again tomorrow.

Your Child

Tips for Grandparents Caring for Grandkids


Summers often provide grandparents the opportunity to spend extra time with the grandkids. While parents continue their work schedule, grandpa and grandma lovingly spoil their little ones. Many grandparents are actually raising their grandkids or providing year-round part time care.

Grandparents are are more than just babysitters, they provide a unique generational connection.  Their stories and life experiences can provide a treasure trove of valuable links to the family’s past. Hard-earned wisdom can offer guidance when youngsters are searching for answers. They are unique.

If you’re a grandparent caring for your grandkids – God bless you! What a wonderful gift you are giving to your kids and their children. 

Now is a good time to educate yourself on the new medical discoveries made since you raised your own children by asking your grandchild's parents to share information.  The medical profession has learned a lot about having infants sleep safely on their backs and on safer over-the-counter medications for illnesses, as well as many other things. A child safety update can be enormously beneficial. 

It may have been a while since you’ve been in charge of a little one’s care; to help freshen up on child home safety, here is a list of safety recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Nursery & Sleeping Area -

•       If you saved your own child's crib, stored in your attic or garage, per­haps awaiting the arrival of a grandchild someday, you should replace it with a new one. Guidelines for children's furniture and equipment have changed dramatically, and a crib that is more than a few years old will not meet today's safety standards. This is likely also true for other saved and aging furniture that could pose risks to children, such as an old playpen.

•       Buy a changing table, use your own bed, or even a towel on the floor to change the baby's diapers. As she gets a little older, and she becomes more likely to squirm, you may need a second person to help in changing her diaper.

•       Do not allow your grandchild to sleep in your bed.

•       Keep the diaper pail emptied.

Kitchen -

•       Put "kiddie locks" on the cabinets; to be extra safe, move unsafe cleansers and chemicals so they're completely out of reach.

•       Remove any dangling cords, such as those from the coffeepot or toaster.

•       Take extra precautions before giving your grandchild food prepared in microwave ovens. Microwaves can heat liquids and solids unevenly, and they may be mildly warm on the outside but very hot on the in­side.

Bathroom -

•       Store pills, inhalers, and other prescription or nonprescription medi­cations, as well as medical equipment, locked and out of the reach of your grandchild. Be especially vigilant that all medications of any kind are kept up and away from a child's reach and sight.

•       Put nonslip material in the bathtub to avoid dangerous falls.

•       If there are handles and bars in the bathtub for your own use, cover them with soft material if you are going to be bathing the baby there.

•       Never leave a child unattended in a tub or sink filled with water.

Baby Equipment Safety

•       Never leave your grandchild alone in a high chair or in an infant seat located in high places, such as a table or countertop.

•       Do not use baby walkers.

Toy Safety:

•       Buy new toys for your grandchild that has a variety of sounds, sights, and colors. Simple toys can be just as good. Remember, no matter how fancy the toys may be your own interac­tion and play with your grandchild are much more important.

•       Toys, CDs, and books should be age-appropriate and challenge chil­dren at their own developmental level.

•       Avoid toys with small parts that the baby could put into her mouth and swallow. Follow the recommendations on the package to find toys suitable for your grandchild's age.

•       Because toy boxes can be dangerous, keep them out of your home, or look for one without a top or lid.

Garage and Basements

•       Make sure that the automatic reversing mechanism on the garage door is operating.

•       Keep all garden chemicals and pesticides as well as tools in a locked cabinet and out of reach.

•       Make sure that freezers, refrigerator and washing machines are not accessible. 

These safety tips can help recharge your memory when it comes to caring for small children as well as offer some new ideas on making your home a safer place for them to visit.

Times have changed since your children were young. Your energy level may not be quite as high as it once was, so planning the day with rest breaks included can help you and the kids.

 While some things may have changed, love is still the universal ingredient that helps children thrive and grandparents have plenty of that!




Daily Dose

Pool Safety

1:15 to read

As you know, water safety is paramont this time of year so I want to make sure your children are safe this summer.  Drowning is the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1- 4 and the second leading cause of unintentional death for children under the age of 14.  Over 390 children die each year in their own backyard pools...tragically drowning is typically a SILENT event.

The first thing all pools need is a at least 4 foot tall fence surrounding all 4 sides of the pool. Now is the time to make sure that not only is your pool fenced but that it also is “tuned up” after the winter. That means that the self latching gate is working, that all pool furniture and toys are  moved away from the fence in order that children cannot climb up and over a fence, and you might even add a pool alarm that goes off if anyone enters the pool without supervision. 

If you have a door from the house to the pool there should be an alarm on the door as well as having a fence around the pool…this ensures “layers of protection”..the more layers to keep your child away from an unsupervised pool the better!  Children are clever, fast and tenacious.

Now once you decide to enjoy a day poolside you need to have several things on hand which include a portable phone, a flotation ring or hook, and always an adult within arms reach of a toddler or young child who has not yet learned to swim.  If there are several “non swimmers” in the pool with only 1 adult,  it is best to put all of the children in an approved flotation device as well.  The adult who is supervising the pool should ideally know CPR. I think that all “pool owners” should take CPR.

The person in charge of watching a child or children in the pool need to be identified and vigilant. That means staying off a cell phone or any electronics that might be distracting. It is also not the time for adults to be partying and alcohol is discouraged.  

Most children over the age of 4 years are ready for swimming lessons, but the AAP does recognize that there are some younger children between 1 -4 years who may be ready for swimming lessons, especially those that are frequently around water ( home pool, lake , beach). Each child will develop at differently.  Even a young child who has had swim lessons should not be considered “drown-proof” and never be unsupervised.

Lastly, don’t forget the sunscreen and remember to re-apply frequently to both you and your child!





Daily Dose

Get Rid Of Drugs Safely

1.15 to read

Got drugs???  Saturday, April 26 is National Take Back Day.  This day is set aside to help you clean out your medicine cabinet and dispose of your old, unused and expired prescription medications safely.  This is a “no questions asked” opportunity to dispose of your medication, without contaminating the environment or throwing away medication improperly.

With teen prescription drug abuse on the rise and over 50% of teens reporting that they have obtained prescription drugs from a family medicine cabinet, what better time to check out your own family medicine cabinet.  It is surprising how many medications you might find that are either expired, or no longer being used. Rather than flush them down the toilet or throw them away, take them to a location (you can find a site on line at that will dispose of medications properly while protecting our environment and our water sources.

Accidental poisoning from medications in the medicine cabinet (or left on a kitchen shelf or table) is another problem for our children. It sometime seems that young children are better at opening “child proof caps” than many adults, and with many medicines being colorful children will eat a handful before deciding they may not taste so great. In some cases it only takes a few pills to cause toxicity. 

So, let’s all head to the medicine cabinet (or cabinets) and do a thorough spring cleaning.  Then, take that sack to your local drop off spot and feel a sense of accomplishment. We all should mark our calendars to do this every year.  

Daily Dose

Parents Ignore New Car Seat Recomendations

1.45 to read

I have been surprised at the number of parents I have seen lately, who are either unaware or choose to ignore the changes in car seat recommendations for children under the age of two.I have been surprised at the number of parents I have seen, who are either unaware or choose to ignore the changes in car seat recommendations for children under the age of two.

I try to discuss car seat safety at each check-up appointment, and have always been especially mindful of doing this at the one-year check up. A new policy (April 2011) by colleagues at the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends what I have been discussing for a while now: children up to age two should remain in rear-facing safety seats. The new policy is supported by research that shows children younger than 2 are 75% less likely to die or be severely injured in a crash if they are rear-facing. So how did we get here? Original recommendations (established in 2009), I had followed with my own patients. I discussed turning the car seat to a forward facing position if the child had reached 12 months and 20 pounds. Then in April, an article was published (Inj Prev. 2007;13:398-402), which was the first U.S. data to substantiate the benefits of toddlers riding rear facing until they are two years of age. This study showed that children under the age of two are 75 percent less likely to die or experience a serious injury when they are riding in a rear-facing. That is a fairly compelling statistic to keep that car seat rear-facing for another year! Studies have shown that rear-facing seats are more likely to support the back, neck, head and pelvis because the force of a crash is distributed evenly over the entire body. Toddlers between the ages of 12 and 23 months who ride rear facing are more than five times safer than toddlers in that same age group who ride forward-facing in a car seat. There has also been concern that rear-facing toddlers whose feet reach the back of the seat are more likely to suffer injuries to the lower extremities in a car accident. But a commentary written by Dr. Marilyn Bull in Pediatrics (2008;121:619-620) dispelled the myth with documentation that lower extremity injuries were rare with rear-facing seats. So, it has now been over two years since this data was published and recommended, and parents continue to say, “I just turned the seat around any way” or “I didn’t know.” I did go look at car-seats the other day and I noted that the labeling on the boxes had all been changed to recommend rear facing until two years or until a toddler reaches the maximum height and weight recommendations for the model. I take this to mean that some “small” toddlers could even rear face longer as they do in some European countries. For safety sake, rather than convenience, keep that car seat in the rear facing position. I wonder if they will begin putting DVD players and cup holders facing toward these toddlers, as that seemed to be a concern of many parents. Maybe this will make it “okay” to listen to music or talk while in the car rather than watching TV, at least until a child is older!! If you need references on car seats go to or Send your question or comment to Dr. Sue!


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Struggling with feeding your kids healthy (er) meals. Rule of thumb: don't stress over it!


Struggling with feeding your kids healthy (er) meals. Rule of thumb: don't stress over it!

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