Hand sanitizers are effective and inexpensive products that can reduce microorganisms on the skin, but ingestion or improper use can be associated with health risks.
Many hand sanitizers contain up to 60%–95% ethanol or isopropyl alcohol by volume, and are often combined with scents that might be appealing to young children.
Recent reports have identified serious consequences, including apnea, acidosis, and coma in young children who swallowed alcohol-based (alcohol) hand sanitizer. The major route of exposure to both alcohol and nonalcohol-based (nonalcohol) hand sanitizers was ingestion. The majority of intentional exposures to alcohol hand sanitizers occurred in children aged 6–12 years.
Alcohol hand sanitizer exposures were associated with worse outcomes than were nonalcohol hand sanitizer exposures. Caregivers and health care providers should be aware of the potential dangers associated with hand sanitizer ingestion. Children using alcohol hand sanitizers should be supervised and these products should be kept out of reach from...