Have you ever had a child drink your nail polish? Or maybe suck on a permanent marker?
We get calls like these a lot at the poison center. We had more than 130 calls about nail polish and nearly 180 about pens and markers in 2012.
Most of the time, your child will be fine if they do this. Nail polish does have some scary-sounding chemicals in it, but it comes in small bottles that don’t pour very quickly, so it’s hard for a child to drink enough to be harmful.
Markers are billed as “permanent” but they will come off eventually and the chemicals in them are not harmful in such a small amount.
In fact, with these two items and plenty of others, we’re more likely to see problems for the child when parents or caregivers try to clean up these mishaps in the wrong way.
Sometimes they will try to use nail polish remover to clean up a kid’s face. This will actually be more unpleasant for the child than the nail polish itself. Nail polish remover contains harsh chemicals—it won’t cause any lasting problems, but it can make the child’s skin red and sore.
With markers, people will sometimes try to use a marker eraser solution to try to clean the child’s face. These products also contain skin irritants that can leave the child with redness and soreness.
In both cases, your best bet for cleanup is good old soap and water. And if you did use nail polish remover or marker eraser solution first, some mild soap, a thorough rinse and maybe some moisturizer can help.
The most important thing to remember is any time you have a question about a child getting into something, call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222 or chat with us online. Our poison specialists are here 24/7 and will help you treat your child the right way. And sometimes you’ll find out things aren’t as bad as you thought!