Is Hand Sanitizer Safe for Kids to Use?

Is Hand Sanitizer Safe for Kids to Use?

Homework? Done. 

Lunch? Prepared. 

Mask and sanitizer? Wait -- what? 

You heard right. As if the school supplies checklist wasn’t long enough, masks and hand sanitizer are two new essentials you’ll want your kid to always have handy as they head off to school.

If you’ve got a kid who abhors hand washing, getting them a small bottle of hand sanitizer to carry in their backpack can give you some peace of mind that they’ll have what they need to keep germs at bay. 

Here are a few more reasons hand sanitizer is a must-have at school:

  • It’s fast. Kids don’t want to take 20 seconds to wash their hands, even if we try to make it fun by singing songs to help with the timing. But, it doesn’t take much persuading to convince them to squeeze some sanitizer onto their hands, rub dry, and get on with their recess.
  • It’s small. Most hand sanitizer sprays are two ounces or less, making them the perfect size for your kids to carry around and easily use as needed.
  • It’s effective. A study conducted a couple of years ago showed that hand sanitizer was actually better at cleaning hands compared to hand washing when it came to toddlers, mainly due to the fact that it was easier to do for the young preschoolers. 

  • Hand sanitizers can be a great option for kids, especially ones who loathe hand washing, but with how powerful of a cleaning tool it is, some parents may wonder if it’s safe for their kids to use so often. After all, for a hand sanitizer to be effective, it must contain at least 60% isopropyl or ethyl alcohol by volume. Some formulas have even been recalled

  • The short answer is: yes, it’s safe to use, as long as your kids are using it right. 

    Hand Sanitizing for Kids 101

    In between classes, after recess or during lunch, or when they’re tempted to touch their face for whatever reason while sitting at their desk, hand sanitizer can be incredibly useful for your kid’s day to day hygiene at school.

    Set your kids up for sanitizing success with these best practices for cleanliness and safety:

    • Avoid the cutesy formulas, i.e. hand sanitizers that could be confused as something kids can eat. Those bubble-gum-scented, pink-and-purple-glitter hand sanitizers may be okay for older kids, but younger children may confuse them as something they can eat. Opt for an unscented hand sanitizer that doesn’t smell like dessert.
    • Closely monitor small children when they use hand sanitizer and teach them how to properly use it. This is important even for older children who might use too much or too little sanitizer without even knowing it. Guide your kids on how to use hand sanitizer, from how much to use to reminding them to keep their hands away from their eyes, mouth, and face in general while their hands are still wet.
    • Sanitizer is one thing they probably shouldn’t share. You’re trying to raise a good kid who knows it’s important to share, but sharing hand sanitizer is an exception. From the ironic spreading of germs by passing around the hand sanitizer bottle, to the potential waste of kids wanting to sanitize their hands just because everyone else is doing it, your kid is better off keeping their sanitizer to themselves this school year. 

      Older Kids and Hand Sanitizer

      If you have older kids or teens, you can also encourage them to use their hand sanitizer spray for high-touch surfaces and objects, too, as long as their sanitizer formula has at least 70% alcohol (the amount needed to be effective for non-porous surfaces).

      Here are a few of the germiest surfaces they’ll touch before they even get to homeroom:

      If you have older kids or teens, you can also encourage them to use their hand sanitizer spray for high-touch surfaces and objects, too, as long as their sanitizer formula has at least 70% alcohol (the amount needed to be effective for non-porous surfaces).

      Here are a few of the germiest surfaces they’ll touch before they even get to homeroom:

      • Screens. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops are one of the most high-touch belongings your kid owns. Remind your child that their hand sanitizer spray is effective at keeping those surfaces clean, and frequent sanitizing is a good practice for keeping frequently used items germ-free, even if they insist they don’t use their phones during class. 
      • Lockers and locks. One of their regular stops throughout the day, your child’s locker gets a lot of action. Remind your child it’s good to spray the lock and latch every once in a while to keep it clean. 
      • Desks. Even if the school sanitizes desks between classes, it won’t hurt for your kid to give that high-traffic surface a spray at the beginning of class. 

        The Main Risk to Kids: Ingestion

        The big concern with children using hand sanitizer is its alcohol content and the consequences if they ingest it. While a lick of sanitizer generally won’t warrant a trip to the emergency room, anything more than that can cause some serious stomach upset. 

        Actually drinking the sanitizer can lead to much worse, including dangerously low blood sugar and intoxication in addition to possible alcohol poisoning. 

        Symptoms of sanitizer ingestion include:

        • Slowed breathing
        • Slowed heart rate
        • Hypoglycemia (severely low blood sugar)
        • Vomiting

        While we want to say it’s unlikely you’ll have to teach an older child not to ingest hand sanitizer, there’s been a rise of “challenges” on social media that could eventually tempt them to do so if someone decides to start the trend (lest we forget why Tide Pods came out with child-proof containers). We all want to believe our kid won’t fall for this type of stuff, but we all did less-than-ideal things as kids and teens, so just be on the lookout for these types of “challenges” that have taken TikTok by storm. 

        If you suspect your child (or teen) has ingested hand sanitizer, you should seek medical attention immediately. 

        Wrapping It Up

        So… what did we learn today, class?

        1. Take the time to teach your kid how to use sanitizer the right way. 
        1. You can safely keep your kids germ-free by sending them back to school with their own bottle of hand sanitizer spray, provided they know how to correctly use it. 
        1. Go with unscented sanitizer formulas with at least 70% ethyl or isopropyl alcohol or higher so your kid can sanitize their hands and high-touch surfaces.

        Don’t let sanitizer be another worry on your back to school checklist -- has you covered with fast-absorbing, conveniently-sized hand sanitizers for the whole family. We even have a monthly subscription service so you can set it and forget it.

        You can also have peace of mind that everything on the marketplace has been vetted for quality. We only carry effective, affordable sanitizers. Period. 

        Pack that sanitizer spray into your kid’s backpack with confidence. You’ve officially done your homework and it’s time to put your new knowledge to good use!




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