When kids get together and decide that they want to get drunk they don’t really care about the quality of the alcohol; to them booze is booze. Unfortunately many kids and teenagers will drink whatever they can find that will get them drunk, including apparently, alcohol based hand sanitizers.
Besides the obvious issue of underage drinking is the issue of what exactly they are ingesting. Turns out that there’s a big difference between the alcohol that is sold for consumption and the alcohol in sanitizers.
Hand sanitizers contain isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol will definitely get you drunk but it can also cause internal damage, blindness and, in extreme cases, death.
To make matters worse kids are apparently purchasing or stealing sanitizers and challenging each other to drink it. Others just start drinking it because of the scents added to make them smell the way they do (strawberry and orange, for example).
Lest you think this is just an isolated incident, hospitals across the US have reported a 400% increase in sanitizer related alcohol poisoning in young children in the past 5 years. This means that almost 17,000 kids each year are brought into hospital emergency rooms because they have been drinking sanitizers.
Bottom line is that you should make sure that sanitizers are kept out of the reach of children, especially those that smell tasty. Additionally, parents need to make sure that they aren’t giving their children access to sanitizers that they might ingest.