Parents take note! Hand sanitisers may do more harm than good, warn scientists who found that these alcohol-based, scented products may tempt young kids to swallow the substance – leading to serious consequences such as stomach pains, nausea and even coma.Hand sanitizer of the alcohol-based type is genrally preferred to hand washing with soap and water in most situations in the healthcare setting. It is generally more effective at killing microorganisms and better tolerated than soap and water. But researchers from US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention have also identified serious consequences, including apnea, acidosis and coma in young children who swallowed alcohol-based hand sanitisers. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfTo characterise paediatric alcohol hand sanitiser exposures in the US, data reported by poison centres among children aged 12 years during 2011 to 2014 were analysed.Hand sanitiser exposures were defined as a poison centre call reporting an exposure to either alcohol hand sanitiser exposure or a non alcohol sanitiser product. Alcohol-based versions typically contain some combination of isopropyl alcohol, ethanol, or n-propanol. Calls reporting co-exposures to other agents were excluded to minimise confounding effects. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThe study found that majority of intentional exposures to alcohol hand sanitisers occurred in children aged 6-12 years.During 2011 – 2014, a total of 70,669 hand sanitiser exposures in children were reported, of which 65,293 were 92 per cent alcohol exposures and 5,376 were 8 per cent non alcohol exposures.These data also indicate that, among older children, exposures occur less frequently during the summer months.The reason for this seasonal trend is unknown but might be associated with flu season or more ready access to hand sanitisers during the school year, researchers said. The recommendations provided by the researchers included, hand washing with soap and water. Increasing awareness of the potential dangers are associated with intentional or unintentional ingestion of alcohol hand sanitisers.”Caregivers and health care providers need to be aware of the potential risks and dangers associated with improper use of hand sanitiser products among children and the need to use proper safety precautions to protect children,” researchers said.Reports of children drinking hand sanitizer have risen steadily since 2005, but the trend has increased in the last six years.The CDC also reports that about 6,000 children between the ages of 6-12 reported ingesting hand sanitizer — meaning these children were more likely to have drank sanitizer purposefully. Sanitizers can also skin damage. Although alcohol-based hand sanitizer kills the bacteria but washing hands also removes those little microbes from the skin entirely. It can lower the child’s immunity and the triclosan present in some sanitizers can wreak havoc on the health of the young ones. That odour of sanitizers that is due to the inclusion of a compound called phthalates is also a reason for the problems caused by it. These compounds easily leach into foods and then into the body. So using a sanitizer instead of soap before a meal might not be that good an idea. The CDC recommends that children should wash their hands with non-alchoholic soap and water in a non-healthcare situation.So, if you’re in a rush, feel free to use your trusty hand sanitizer. But remember that it’s not a replacement for good ol’ fashioned washing and the actual non-alcholic soap should be the first choice.