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Will hand sanitizer harm my baby?

At this time, hand sanitizers are everywhere and the country is encouraged to use it as much as possible to avoid the spread of germs and reduce the chance of contracting the flu and COVID-19.

Children often transfer cold viruses and other bacteria through their hands, and often hand sanitizer is the easiest method to quickly clean them up.

To keep everyone safe, it's important that you follow guidelines on the proper use of hand sanitizer. We've included some tips to help keep the whole family safe when cleaning their hands.


Any time a child is near hand sanitizer, they need to be carefully supervised. Only a small amount is necessary to use. Toddlers and children should rub their hands together until the sanitizer has evaporated. Children should keep their hands out of their mouths.


With the mass production of hand sanitizer, the ingredients used are not safe for babies or children. Many manufacturers use an ingredient named Benzalkonium Chloride (noted as BAC), that works for a longer period of time, but is highly toxic, even in smaller amounts. It is often irritating to the skin and eyes and is typically reserved for use in hospitals.

However, hand sanitizers that are alcohol based and use ethyl alcohol are somewhat "safer" than others that use isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol is commonly known as an ingredient in Rubbing Alcohol, and is more toxic. Check the alcohol content of the hand sanitizer you use, and if possible use one that has a lower content.

If at any time your child swallows hand sanitizer, contact your physician as quickly as possible.

Do not use hand sanitizers to clean toys or other items baby uses. In rare cases, this has poisoned babies.

Alcohol Free Sanitizers

With the flu season rapidly approaching, it's best to stick with alcohol based hand sanitizers. Ones without it just aren't as effective.

Some hand sanitizers on the market are made from essential oils. While they have some effectiveness in fighting germs, they often irritate the skin and should never be used on baby's delicate skin.

Immune System Responses

Babies are born with a suppressed immune system. It adapts to it's surroundings through exposure to pathogens in the environment. This helps build and strengthen the immune system along with the help of breast milk.

When babies are not exposed to any pathogens, they aren't able to develop an immunity to irritants. As a result, the immune system reacts to all pathogens as if they were dangerous.

Overuse of hand sanitizers can help develop allergies. The body sometimes develops a reaction to certain pathogens that it would not otherwise. It's a miscommunication in the body that leads to allergies.

Using hand sanitizer on the littles should be carefully supervised, and letting them know that this stuff their rubbing on their hands can harm them if ingested is recommended.


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