Mom says hand sanitizer pouch mistaken for food pouch, given to toddler

18-month-old eats hand sanitizer pouch mistaken for food, mom says

It is common for a parent or caregiver to reach in and grab a pouch of squeezable applesauce or other pureed fruit.

But confusing an item’s packaging could be a dangerous mistake.

Nikki Teixeira said her 18-month-old son Logan ate hand sanitizer last month because of similarities between the cleaning solvent’s packaging and that of his normal snack, “Good Morning America” reported.

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***To all parents/guardians of babies and small children*** Please DO NOT buy these cute hand sanitizer pouches from...

Posted by Nikki Teixeira on Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Teixeira said Logan’s grandmother gave the child a pouch filled with liquid that had a Troll character from the popular children’s films on the label.

The grandmother thought it was a pouch of fruit puree. But instead, it was a pouch filled with hand sanitizer that Teixeira had purchased for her 7-year-old stepdaughter for her school backpack.

“The way it was packaged and displayed with hand sanitizers, I didn’t even think of it looking like food,” Teixeira told “Good Morning America.”

But Teixeira’s stepdaughter already had some, so the mom threw it into her bag.

That’s where the confusion on the grandmother’s part happened.

The grandmother had the bag when she was caring for Logan and thought the pouch was a snack that had been packed for the boy, “Good Morning America” reported.

“He took a sip and immediately turned red and started coughing, so she grabbed it from him and then immediately saw it was hand sanitizer,” Teixeira said.

The grandmother called a neighbor and 911 after the child became sleepy. When paramedics came, Logan was awake but was taken to a hospital to be checked out. Logan was fine other than being grumpy and having no appetite for the rest of the day.

The company removed the packaging from store shelves and changed it from a pouch to a bottle.

Smart Care, the company that marketed the sanitizer, told ABC News, “We were recently made aware of a concern expressed by a part regarding our hand sanitizer sold in a .84-ounce pouch. We took this concern seriously and immediately removed the product from retail.”

But there have been other concerns about similar packaging.

Tammy Noble, a registered nurse with the Iowa Poison Control Center, said that it was a matter of time until the hand sanitizer was mistaken for fruit snacks, Radio Iowa reported.

The pouches are clearly labeled as hand sanitizer and have “Do Not Eat” printed on them but could be mistaken for food by children who cannot read, according to Radio Iowa.

The hand sanitizers could contain 60% ethyl alcohol, which is dangerous if consumed by a child.

The Food and Drug Administration has also issued warnings about the similarities in packaging. Not only is the solvent packaged in food-like pouches, but it also sometimes comes in flavors like chocolate or raspberry, the FDA said.

“I’m increasingly concerned about hand sanitizer being packaged to appear to be consumable products, such as baby food or beverages. These products could confuse consumers into accidentally ingesting a potentially deadly product. It’s dangerous to add scents with food flavors to hand sanitizers which children could think smells like food, eat and get alcohol poisoning,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, said.

“Manufacturers should be vigilant about packaging and marketing their hand sanitizers in food or drink packages in an effort to mitigate any potential inadvertent use by consumers. The FDA continues to monitor these products and we’ll take appropriate actions as needed to protect the health of Americans,” Hahn added.

FILE ILLUSTRATION: Pouches like these usually contain applesauce or other fruit purees, but a mother in Canada said she purchased hand sanitizer in one that was mistaken later by her child's grandmother for food.
FILE ILLUSTRATION: Pouches like these usually contain applesauce or other fruit purees, but a mother in Canada said she purchased hand sanitizer in one that was mistaken later by her child's grandmother for food. (umesh chandra/Getty Images/iStockphoto)