If there’s one hot commodity this back-to-school season, it’s hand sanitizer. Even the glamorous Sarah Michelle Gellar swears to SheKnows that her favorite “beauty” product is “hand sanitizer — and I think we know why!” We’re in a pandemic, after all; health is beauty, right? Or something like that. Hand sanitizer is no longer just the purview of doctor’s office reception desks and your extremely germaphobic coworker who keeps it at her desk to apply every 20 minutes. We are all that coworker now. So it’s time we accepted it — and invited the entire family along on our germ-fighting journey.
But wait: Is hand sanitizer even safe for kids? Cheryl Franco, a Registered Nurse from the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, says yes — as long as you “just only use a pea-sized amount,” she writes. That’s because most hand sanitizers have a high enough alcohol content that they’ll make kids ill if swallowed or even licked (the latter is why Franco advises not to use “sweet smelling or fragrant hand sanitizer” with very young kids who might be tempted to lick their hands. For littles, a small amount of unscented sanitizer will do.
But for older kids who can understand the concept of “this is for your hands, not your mouth,” there are plenty of appealing scents and sweet designs that may even inspire them to sanitize more often. Find our favorites ahead; many of them are all-natural and plant-based to boot.
But don’t forget: No amount of hand sanitizer can replace regular hand-washing! Here’s some how-to on teaching your kids to get it right.
If your child ingests any amount of hand sanitizer, call the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) at 800-222-1222.
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A version of this story was originally published in May 2020.