Isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol) is used to clean the skin but it can cause chemical burns in neonates.


Risk factors:

(1) premature neonate with increased skin permeability

(2) poor skin perfusion

(3) prolonged or repeated skin exposure (soaking into diapers, bedding, etc)


Clinical features:

(1) first, second or even third degree burn with erythema

(2) in distribution of isopropyl alcohol application

(3) no other explanation


If isopropyl alcohol continues to be used or if it is used to clean a wound, then systemic absorption may occur and can be toxic.


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