While hand sanitizer serves its place in keeping our children germ free, if it’s not used properly, it can cause more harm than good.
Most hand sanitizers are alcohol based and contain between 60-90% alcohol. This concentration of alcohol is stronger than what is found in most hard liquors! If a child ingests even a small amount of hand sanitizer, it can be dangerous. A child may experience dizziness, slurred speech or headaches. If a child ingested a large enough dose, he could suffer brain damage or could even die.
When allowing children to use hand sanitizer, follow these safety tips:
1. Always supervise a child who is using hand sanitizer and be sure that he rubs his hands together until they are completely dry. If applying to a younger child, be sure to rub his hands together until they are completely dry.
2. Warn children not to put their hands or fingers in their mouths or bite their nails. Children can inadvertently ingest hand sanitizer this way.
3. Use only a small, dime sized amount of hand sanitizer. Too much hand sanitizer may not evaporate quick enough, leaving residue on the child’s hands that can be licked off.
4. Use soap and water, instead of hand sanitizer, when available.
5. Keep hand sanitizer out of sight and out of reach of children.
Contact poison control (800-222-1212) and the child’s healthcare provider immediately if you suspect a child in your care has ingested hand sanitizer.