When a lie turns into a farce

Remember the toddler that got severely drunk drinking hand sanitiser?   Have a look at this photo:


The four year old apparently got up there, on a chair bookcase, drank 75 mls of 70% alcohol without stopping, and none of the adults saw it.

Centres warned on hand sanitiser

The Ministry of Education will warn all early childhood centres in New Zealand about the risks of alcohol-based hand sanitiser in the wake of an Invercargill 4-year-old girl becoming grossly intoxicated at her preschool.

The ministry has completed a two-week investigation into an incident at the Woodhouse Early Learning Centre that resulted in the girl being admitted to hospital with a blood alcohol level of 188mg, nearly four times the new legal driving limit.

The preschool owner, Jackie Woodward, believed the girl got intoxicated from drinking hand sanitiser at the premises without the knowledge of staff.

75 mls of 70% alcohol is a significant amount.  It is an amount that would make most adults flinch and cough.  Not to mention the bad taste of the sanitiser, how do you think a four year old tongue and throat would react to it?


The ministry identified areas that needed improving at the centre, including a review of the centre’s supervision plan and practice. Centre staff also needed to be more aware of when a child’s behaviour seemed different, she said. “The centre’s management team have said they will implement our recommendations. We will assist in any way we can and will also monitor to ensure the recommendations are implemented.”

Following the incident a fortnight ago, National Poisons Centre toxicologist Leo Schep said it received two or three calls a day from parents saying their children had drunk hand sanitiser, which had 60 to 70 per cent alcohol content. “The biggest cause of alcohol consumption in kids is hand sanitiser by far. They [parents] should keep it out of reach of kiddies.”

I have no doubt that some kids will be enjoying an exploratory taste.

But let’s use Occam’s Razor here  – there is no way a four year old downed the above amount of 70% alcohol sanitiser from a dispenser that would have to be pressed many, many times to even dispense that much, without the girl flinching, having her throat burned or otherwise getting the message this stuff is poison to a toddlers mouth.

There was probably a different source of alcohol that day.  But because nobody wants to accuse the centre of letting a kid go legless on a nice fruity alcopop, now all early childhood education centres are made to pretend that a dispenser 1.5m off the ground is a serious health hazard to children.

None of this passes the bulldust test, and the fact we’re ignoring that some adults had a a serious lapse in supervision and are now blaming the hand sanitiser is just disgusting.


Photo caption:  Woodhouse Early Learning Centre owner Jackie Woodward holds up hand sanitiser where it was located at the centre. Woodward believes the four-year-old climbed onto a bookshelf, reached up and drank it.



– Evan  Harding, Southland T

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.