Children and Hand Sanitizer

Children and Hand Sanitizer

In 2015, the Georgia Poison Center and Georgia Emergency Rooms noticed a troubling trend—children drinking hand sanitizer.

  • Most hand sanitizers contain more than 60% ethyl alcohol (ethanol) - more than most hard liquors
  • Drinking ethanol-based hand sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning
  • Since 2010, poison centers have seen a 394% increase in hand sanitizer calls to their emergency hotlines

Hand Sanitizer Facts

All hand sanitizing products are safe and effective when used properly, but there is a potential for abuse. The alcohol used in the product has been altered to make it taste bad, but this may not discourage some children from purposely drinking hand sanitizer in order to “get a buzz,” “get drunk,” or from a dare. Teachers and parents should be aware of this and be on the lookout for any abuse.

If it is suspected that someone has swallowed some hand sanitizer, the Georgia Poison Center should be contacted immediately by dialing 1-800-222-1222. Telephone lines are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by doctors, pharmacists, nurses, toxicologists and poison information specialists. The service is free and the information provided is kept private and confidential.

Hand Sanitizer Dangers