Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Magic Eraser


















The photo is of Kolby - 24 hours after being burned by a Magic Eraser sponge. It was much worse the day before.

One of my five year old's favorite chores around the house is cleaning scuff marks off the walls, doors, and baseboards with either an Easy Eraser pad, or the real deal, a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I remember reading the box, wondering what the "Magic" component was that cleaned crayon off my walls with ease. No ingredients were listed and absolutely no warnings were
on the box, other than "Do not ingest."

My package of the Scotchbrite Easy Erasers didn't have a warning either; and since my child knew not to eat the sponges and keep them out of reach of his little brother and sister, it was a chore I happily let him do.

If I had known that both brands (and others like them) contain a harmful alkaline or "base" chemical (opposite of acid on the pH scale) that can burn your skin, I never would have let my little boy handle them. As you can see from the picture, when the Scotchbrite Easy Eraser was rubbed against his face and chin, he received severe chemical burns.

At first, I thought he was being dramatic. I picked him up, put him on the counter top and washed his face with soap and water. He was screaming in pain. I put some lotion on his face - more agony. I had used a Magic Eraser to remove magic marker from my own knuckles a while back and I couldn't understand why he was suddenly in pain. Then, almost immediately, the large, shiny, blistering red marks started to spread across his cheeks and chin.

I quickly searched Google.com for "Magic Eraser Burn" and turned up several results. I was shocked. These completely innocent looking white foam sponges can burn you?

I called our pediatrician, and of course got sent to voice mail. I hung up and called the hospital and spoke to an emergency room nurse. She told me to call Poison Control. The woman at Poison Control said she was surprised nobody had sued these companies yet and walked me through the process of neutralizing the alkaline to stop my son's face from continually burning more every second.


I had already, during my frantic phone calling, tried patting some numbing antibiotic cream on his cheeks, and later some Aloe Vera gel - both resulted in screams of pain. The Poison Control tech had me fill a bathtub with warm water, lay my son into it, cover him with a towel to keep him warm and then use a soft washcloth to rinse his face and chin with cool water for a continuous 20 minutes.
My son calmed down immediately. He told me how good it felt. I gave him a dose of Tylenol and after the twenty minutes was up, he got dressed in his Emergency Room doctor Halloween costume and off we went to the hospital. They needed to make sure the chemical burn had stopped burning, and examine his face to determine if the burn would need to be debrided (from my fuzzy recollection of hospital work, this means removing loose tissue from a burn location). My son was pretty happy at the hospital, they were very nice and called him "Doctor" and let him examine some of their equipment. The water had successfully stopped the burning and helped soothe a lot of the pain. I'm sure Tylenol was helping too.

They sent us home with more Aloe Vera gel, Polysporin antibiotic cream, and some other numbing creams. By the time we got home, my son was crying again. I tried applying some of the creams but he cried out in pain. Water seemed to be what worked the best.

After a rough night, I took the above photo in the morning. He was swollen and wouldn't move his lips very much. The skin on his cheeks was taut.

Today he is doing much better. The burns have started to scab over, and in place of red, raw, angry, skin we have a deeper red, rough healing layer. I can touch his skin now, without it stinging.

If you are a parent or grandparent, this post is meant to save your loved ones from the horror these parents went through. Please share it with other parents, grandparents, babysitters, aunts and uncles ~ anyone you know who spends time with kids.

And no, this was not my child.

1 comment:

Seriously Mama said...

Oh my goodness. This post scared the heck out of me! My three year old was just using one of these today, helping me clean up. Wow.

Thanks for the tag... :-)