Two children have been hospitalised in Galicia within the last week after two separate accidents with hand sanitisers caused serious eye damage.
One child, 3, is undergoing an amniotic membrane transplant to his left eye after a classmate threw hand sanitizer in his face during lunch at school.
“I don’t blame the other child, but what I don’t understand is how such young children have access to hand sanitizer,” his mother told local Press.
According to the boy’s family, after the incident, the school called his mother, who works 8 kilometres away, to pick him up instead of rushing him to hospital.
He developed a corneal ulcer and was heavily sedated because of intense pain.
A similar incident occurred after a public hand sanitizer dispenser operated by a pedal sprayed the gel into a 2-year-old’s face in the town of A Pobra de Caraminal.
The boy also had to be sedated because of pain but his cornea does not appear to be damaged.
The Pediatric and Ophthalmology department of the Santiago y Barbanza Hospital confirmed two children were hospitalised for serious ocular problems and warned that young children should not use hand sanitiser unsupervised.
The hospital said reactions are usually “mild” when hand sanitizer gets in eyes, but it should be taken seriously.
“If your eyes are accidentally exposed to these kinds of products, you have to act quickly, rinsing the zone with abundant water and immediately seeking medical assistance,” said Federico Martino, director of Pediatric services in the hospital.
According to the Spanish National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences (INTCF), 874 children have required medical assistance for hand sanitiser poisoning this year, an increase of more than 900% compared to all of 2019.