Ordinary mouthwashes can be a dangerous source of alcohol to young children enticed by their bright colors and sweet taste. In most cases, consuming alcohol-laden mouthwash will simply make a child ill. However, there are cases of children under the age of 5 have died in past years from swallowing mouthwashes with high concentrations of alcohol, according to one medical study.

Many of the top mouthwash brands have more alcohol than either beer (typically 5 to 7 percent alcohol) or wine (10 to 14 percent). The American Society of Poison Control Centers lists the alcohol content of one popular mouthwash at 26.9 percent, for example, and another at 18.9 percent.

Even in less-than-fatal doses, the alcohol in mouthwash can be dangerous to young children if consumed in combination with certain medications. Among other things, it can induce hypoglycemia, a condition in which the concentration glucose in the blood cells falls below normal. This can lead to a wide variety of symptoms, including weakness, trembling, dizziness, nausea and rapid heartbeat.

States have petitioned the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission to require child-resistant packaging for mouthwashes containing more than 5 percent alcohol. It's advisable to keep mouthwash out of the reach of small children unless you are certain that you've bought a brand containing no alcohol.