One of the coronavirus questions we’ve been getting from parents is how to keep babies’ and toddlers’ hands clean. What’s the best way to do it? Is hand sanitizer okay to use on little hands? In a pinch, do baby wipes do the trick?
How do I keep my baby or toddler’s hands germ-free?
Experts such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend two things here:
- When you have access to soap and water, it’s the best way to keep your little one’s hands clean. Wash them for 20 seconds anytime you come home from being outdoors, at the usual times (before eating or after using the bathroom if they’re potty trained), or simply periodically throughout the day. Use hand lotion to keep your child’s hand from drying out.
- Keeping children’s hands clean also involves frequently disinfecting items and areas they come into a lot of contact with. Wipe down and rinse hard toys and surfaces, and launder soft toys in the warmest water possible.
Can I use hand sanitizer on a baby or toddler?
According to Poison Control and other experts, supervised use of hand sanitizer on little hands is safe. Still, when soap and water are available, washing hands is the way to go. If using hand sanitizer, keep these tips in mind:
- To kill coronavirus germs, hand sanitizer needs to be at least 60% alcohol.
- Use a pea to dime-sized amount of hand sanitizer, and rub it thoroughly into all areas of your child’s hands and fingers.
- Hand sanitizer is most effective when applied to dry hands that are not covered in dirt, food, or other substances.
- Wait for the hand sanitizer to dry before your child touches anything.
- Poison control states that “a lick” of hand sanitizer will not harm a child. That said, hand sanitizers with scents (fruity, for example) may lead to excessive hand licking.
- Ingesting hand sanitizer in its liquid form, on the other hand, is dangerous, so be sure to keep it out of little ones’ reach.
In a pinch, will baby wipes do?
The CDC states that because baby wipes do not contain alcohol, they are not effective at removing coronavirus germs. They can be used, however, to prep your child’s dirty hands for hand sanitizer – just be sure his or her hands are dry before applying it.
What about antibacterial hand wipes?
Many antibacterial hand wipes contain ingredients that have not been shown to kill coronavirus germs. 60% alcohol is the standard.
So, to sum up, hand washing is the best course of action, and when soap and water are not available, supervised use of 60% alcohol hand sanitizer is okay.
What other coronavirus baby and toddler questions do you have? Drop them in the comments, post them on our social media, or send us a DM or an email.