Health Canada warns against hand sanitizers that could be mistaken for children’s snacks

TORONTO — In another advisory about hand sanitizers, Health Canada is warning Canadians to be cautious of hand sanitizers in “non-traditional” packaging that resemble food and beverage snacks for kids.

In a statement released on Friday, Health Canada reported that some companies are packaging hand sanitizers in squeeze pouches with cartoon designs on them to appeal to children.

Squeeze pouches are commonly used for fruit puree snacks or juice for kids and some children could easily confuse the alcohol-based product for a snack if they are not supervised, the agency said in a statement.

“Parents and guardians should be particularly vigilant about these products because children may accidentally mistake them for edible products and consume them,” the statement read. 

In a tweet, the Child Safety Link, an injury prevention program for children in the Maritimes, posted an image of how some hand sanitizers are packaged in squeeze pouches.

In June, Health Canada issued guidelines for manufactures to use the appropriate packaging amid global shortages and urged Canadians to always read the labels of these products. 

The agency did not say if there have been any cases of children accidently ingesting hand sanitizer due to packaging confusion, but they are currently monitoring the situation. 

USING HAND SANITIZER SAFELY

With schools reopening, parents and guardians are being advise against sending their children to school with hand sanitizer in this type of packaging to avoid accidental ingestion. 

According to Health Canada, washing hands with water and soap is still the first recommendation to stop the spread of COVID-19, although children who are supervised by an adult can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

The agency recommends always reading the label to not only avoid confusion, but to ensure the product doesn’t contain technical-grade ethanol which is a harmful ingredient. Several products have been recalled over the last few months.

All types of hand sanitizers should be stored away from children under the ages of six but if ingestion does happen, poison control should be called immediately. 


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