Hand sanitizers can be toxic to toddlers

Lawton_Hand sanitizers are a quick and easy way to clean your hands when you're on the go, but they aren't benign.  The product can be dangerous for kids.  Not only can children become intoxicated if they ingest them, they can be poisoned.  If a 30-pound child swallows only one tablespoon, parents can begin to see signs of intoxication.

Kids at daycares may not use hand sanitizers.  "It is against DHS regulations because it is alcohol based, and the teachers and the children need to wash their hands with soap and water," said Kate Swanson with the Armed Services YMCA daycare center.  "We do not use the sanitizer on children.  We do have it on the premises for use outdoors."

Most hand sanitizers contain 62% alcohol - much more alcohol than most hard liquors contain - which is why only teachers are permitted to use it.  They must be sure they keep it up high on a shelf, and out of reach of kids.

If a child ever does get a hold of a hand sanitizer, the warning signs may be unmistakable.  "...kind of difficult to arouse, clumsiness, not responding to typical questions like they usually would," said Comanche County Memorial Hospital Pediatrician Dr. Wayne Stillick.

Poison control says last year they saw 93 cases of children ingesting hand sanitizer, and one child ended up in the hospital.  "Children are curious," said Dr. Stillick.  They are going to put things in their mouth if it smells nice, or if it looks interesting they are likely to take a taste."

Experts say the best way to protect your children is to keep substances, such as hand sanitizer, out of reach or locked up.  If you must use hand sanitizers on your children, use extreme caution.  The safest way to keep little hands clean is with soap and water.

If your child ever exhibits the previously mentioned symptoms, call poison control.  Someone is available 24-hours-per-day.  The number is 800-222-1222.