Hand Sanitizers - Is it Really Safe for Babies?

Hand Sanitizers and Your Baby: Safe or Dangerous?

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Gunjan Baweja (Paediatrician)
View more Paediatrician Our Panel of Experts

Hand sanitizers have become a popular alternative for keeping hands clean when there’s no water and soap. And why not? All you have to do is just squeeze a little out, rub it on your hands and you’re good to go. But are these safe for your baby?

Hand sanitizers claim to keep your hands 99.9 percent bacteria-free. However, while killing germs, they may also bring in some health issues if you make the wrong product choices. This is why you need to make an informed decision as a mom.

Think Before Buying Hand Sanitizers for Babies

1. Do Hand Sanitizers Contain Alcohol?

Yes. Most hand sanitizers contain 60 percent or higher alcohol content to make effective germ-killers. While most of the alcohol evaporates when rubbed on the hands, some is absorbed through the skin and gets into the bloodstream. Even if you use it and your toddler doesn’t, he can ingest it if he licks your hands or puts your fingers in his mouth. You can work around this by using only alcohol-free sanitizers for your children.

2. Can Hand Sanitizers Weaken Your Child’s Immunity?

While an ultra-clean environment seems a sound option for your baby, it doesn’t exercise his immune system at all. Even though your child gets some immunity from breast milk, in case you are breastfeeding, you need to encourage his immunity to build up further. This can only happen with some exposure to environmental pathogens. Our advice would be to use sanitizers in moderation.

Can hand sanitizers weaken your child’s immunity

3. Can They Cause Allergies?

No, sanitizers haven’t been linked to allergies in children. However, since babies put almost everything into their mouths, you don’t want them inadvertently ingesting trace amounts of chemicals and alcohol. It is always a good idea to opt for organic and natural sanitizers that are free from harmful ingredients.

4. Keep the Sweet Smell in Check

Some sanitizers may have ingredients/ chemicals that trigger asthma in kids. Consult with your paediatrician if it is okay for your child to use sanitizers in this case.

5. Pick a Fragrance-free Sanitizer

Hand sanitizers may work when there’s no access to soap and water. But using one every day to clean hands and toys is not safe. It’s also unnecessary to use a hand sanitizer every time your baby comes in contact with dust. On those rare times when you do have to use it, go for a fragrance-free sanitizer so your little one isn’t tempted to lick it.

Don’t be a germ-freak mom. Yes, keeping your surroundings clean is important. Just remember to use sanitizers in moderation; they are very effective in germ-killing if used discriminately. However, always stress upon hand washing for your kids, whenever possible, which is a much safer option.

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