Perfumes and colognes are tempting to children. They not only smell good, they also come in ornate, beautiful bottles that children may be curious about. If parents use fragrances, children may want to mimic them or even try to taste the liquid.
Most perfumes and colognes contain a blend of essential oils, water-soluble components, and alcohol. The amount of alcohol in perfumes and colognes can vary. When spritzed, the alcohol and water evaporate, leaving a pleasant scent on the skin.
If children spray the product on their skin, they may feel mild skin irritation. Usually, this is relieved by simply washing the skin with soap and water.
Note: If your child has gotten perfume or fragrance into their eyes, call the Missouri Poison Center now for help on how to rinse the eyes.
Sometimes children take a sip of the fragrance, but usually do not ingest much due to the bad taste. Minor stomach upset can happen, but an intoxication (or drunkenness) from the alcohol is not expected from these accidental ingestions.
If you notice that your child has ingested a fragrance product, it is important not to panic. Most children will react strongly to the taste of perfume or cologne, and may cough or gag. Take the bottle away from the child and wipe their mouth out with a soft wet cloth. You may give them some water to drink to get the taste out of their mouth. Do not try to induce vomiting.
After you have removed your child from the situation, immediately call the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. Treatment recommendations are often determined by the amount ingested. The poison center is open all day, every day for poisoning emergencies and questions and our team of medical professionals will help to walk you through the next steps.