Sanitizer Safety

Soap and running water must be used when hand washing in child care centers. However, there may be times when hand sanitizer is used in addition to hand washing or during outside play, etc. While there are many advantages to using hand sanitizer, it can be very harmful if swallowed or used incorrectly. Supervision of children is required to monitor effective use and to avoid potential ingestion. Be careful that children do not rub the sanitizer in their eyes or nose.

Most sanitizers contain alcohol ranging anywhere from 45% to 95%.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, ingesting just a couple of squirts, a child could suffer from alcohol poisoning. Sufferers of alcohol poisoning and/or ingestion of sanitizer could lead to

  • vomiting

  • obstructed/slowed breathing

  • a drop in body temperature and,

  • confusion

It may seem far-fetched for a child to ingest hand sanitizer, but if kept within the reach of a child, it could easily be ingested. Remember, a lot of sanitizers have a pretty color or a nice smell to them. As a precautionary measure, a sanitizing wipe or a non-alcoholic sanitizer could be used.
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