The Importance of Keeping Hand Sanitizer Away from Children

Hand sanitizers can pose a harmful and even deadly threat to your children, yet they are a staple in many households, schools, and even childcare centers. So, what is so dangerous about something as simple as hand sanitizer? As someone who has done extensive research on this topic after first hearing about it a few years ago, I can honestly tell you that it is indeed very dangerous and here’s why.

Many children are being hospitalized every year because of hand sanitizer. The ethyl alcohol level contained in some hand sanitizers is so high that even a very small amount can be fatal or cause hospitalization to your child. All the child needs to do to receive these complications is to lick or eat a small dollop of the sanitizer from their hands or consume even a small dollop from the bottle. The smaller the child is, the smaller the amount needs to be to cause a negative reaction, although each individual will differ in the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream.

The alcohol content in hand sanitizers is astounding, at levels as high as 62%, which is even higher than that of vodka. What’s worse, is that the sanitizers that don’t contain ethyl alcohol contain isopropanol, an even more deadly alcohol substance, contained in rubbing alcohol as well.

Poisoning by ethanol (ethyl alcohol) can cause decreased motor function, unconsciousness, hypothermia, hypotension (low blood pressure), gastrointestinal bleeding, coma, heart failure, and death.

Isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol) poisoning causes the same symptoms as ethanol poisoning, but is two to three times as potent, which means it is even more dangerous.

A person who has received a dangerous dose will likely appear to be drunk. Other signs to watch for are headache, dizziness, being uncoordinated, confusion, abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting, and smelling like alcohol. If you know that a person has ingested the substance, do not wait for these symptoms to appear. The effects can take place very soon after the substance has been ingested. Medical care should be sought immediately. Call 911. Contact a poison control center as well, if you have more than one person and phone available. Do not wait to call 911.

If your child attends a school or daycare facility, be aware of what hand-washing methods are being used. If these facilities are using sanitizers, warn them about the potential risks and see to it that the proper precautions are being taken, such as keeping them out of a child’s reach. It only takes a second for a child to get into something. If your child’s school or daycare is not following the rules of keeping them out of reach and does not heed to your precautions, it is time to choose a new facility. Agreed, that looking for a competent daycare new market is no easy task, but when it comes to your child’s well-being then there is nothing more paramount than that and the quest becomes much easier.

At home, keep any sanitizers or other products containing alcoholic ingredients, such as ethanol (ethyl alcohol), methanol (methyl alcohol), or isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol), out of the reach of children. Keep all chemicals out of the reach of children and supervise children at all times.