Cosmetic products such as perfume, nail polish, and shampoo help us feel and look good. But in the wrong hands — especially those of the very young age — these products can be harmful, or even deadly. More than 64,000 kids in the United States younger than 5 years old had a cosmetic-related injury between 2002 and 2016, according to surveys in a study published on Monday in the journal Clinical Pediatrics.
Researchers looked at the type of product, route of exposure, location of the injury and other factors in children younger than 5 who were treated in US emergency departments. The conclusions came from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, a database operated by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission that reports on injuries and poisonings involving consumer products.
The study noted that from 1999 through 2015, cosmetics were the cause of seven deaths among children, according to the National Poison Data System.
“Although a cosmetic product may not be harmful when used according to the directions, it is important for parents and caregivers to know that a young child could be seriously injured by these products,” Rebecca McAdams, a research associate at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and an author of the study, said in an email.
The authors defined cosmetic products as those that “cleanse, beautify, promote attractiveness, or alter appearance.” These include hair relaxers, nail polish, moisturizers, skin oils, deodorants, and make-up. The products were categorized into five groups, based on how they’re used: nail care, hair care, skin care, fragrance and other, which included deodorants and make-up.
The most common injuries came from nail care products (28.3%), followed by hair care products (27%), skin care products (25%) and fragrance (12.7%). About 75% of the injuries occurred when children swallowed products. The remaining exposures came from skin or eye contact. Patients were most likely to be hospitalized after exposure to hair products.