Hand Sanitizer Caution?>
Wellness Tip

Hand Sanitizer Caution

by Jamie Kopf  

Keep alcohol-based hand sanitizers out of reach of children. An FDA release cited a 79 percent uptick in calls to poison-control centers related to ingestion of these products in March 2020 compared to March 2019, with most of the cases in children ages 5 and younger.

Sanitizers have become an important and in-demand product amid the Covid-19 pandemic, but swallowing even a small amount can be lethal to a young child, the FDA warned. The agency also reported that the availability of hand sanitizers is increasing as more manufacturers rush to make them—good news—but cautioned that some companies are selling the products with ridiculous claims, like “protects you from germs with just one application per day!” and “it’s like wearing an invisible glove.”

Look for hand sanitizers containing at least 60 percent alcohol (typically listed as ethyl alcohol), and use them when soap and water aren’t available (not as a substitute for handwashing). Adults should apply sanitizer to young children’s hands rather than giving them the bottle. Note that alcohol sanitizers should never be used near an open flame.

This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.

Also see Keep Kids Safe from Marijuana at Home.