Are hand sanitisers safe for kids?

Hand sanitisers versus hand washing

Schools and preschools are open again in a limited capacity.  And I gather hand sanitisers are all the rage.  Parents are asking whether hand sanitisers are safe or whether children just need to wash their hands properly.  

It's a bit of a toss up.  It's hard going, getting kids to wash their hands well  -  really well, the way we're being told with all the COVID-19 news.  So hand sanitisers seem like a handy option.  And i'm certainly not going to suggest that your shouldn't use them.  But just be a bit careful with very young children.  Spray something new and interesting on your toddler’s hands, and the first thing some of them do is try to lick it off to see if it tastes good.  My guess is it doesn’t taste good! 

But hand sanitisers usually have a high alcohol content and alcohol can cause a dramatic and dangerous drop in blood sugar in a child.  So if your child does eat any hand sanitiser, phone the National Poisons Centre on 0800 POISON (0800 764 766) for advice.  Giving your child something to eat will help to counter the drop in blood sugar, but it’s still a good idea to phone the Poisons Centre as they will be able to give very specific advice which may vary between brands of sanitisers.

In a school setting, hand sanitisers in addition to handwashing are probably a good idea.  But around the home?  Personally I think you’re better just to avoid hand sanitisers all together at home.  Teach you kids how to wash their hands really really well.  It’s a skill for life.  Check out this link: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/410863/coronavirus-scientific-hand-washing-advice-to-avoid-infection


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