Scotch Plains Rescue Squad Tip of the Month – The Dangers of Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers


Parents know the importance of keeping their children’s hands as germ-free as possible, and besides hand washing, hand sanitizers are often the go-to choice when water is not available.  After all, these products are purported to kill many different types of microorganisms.  What could be safer?

Now comes some news that these products may also be dangerous for our children.  Just recently, the Centers for Disease Control announced that “over 70,000 children drank hand sanitizer between 2011 and 2014. While some older kids intentionally ingest the alcoholic liquid to get drunk, most cases are much more innocent. About 90% of the reported incidents occurred among children younger than five.”  Since some of these sanitizers are scented and come in colorful bottles, they are attractive to young children.  These bottles are also commonly found in schools, daycares, and other places where children are present and are usually easily accessible to them.

Some of these sanitizers contain up to 95% alcohol, and should only be used under adult supervision.  Most side effects, such as eye and mouth irritation, cough, abdominal pain and vomiting, are usually minor.  However, if enough sanitizer is ingested, it can raise a child’s blood alcohol level very high, resulting in seizures, respiratory issues, low blood sugar, and coma.  In this case, 911 should be called immediately, along with the National Poison Control Hotline at 1-800-222-1222. This hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year.

Sign Up for E-News

So talk to your children about the dangers of ingesting these sanitizers, and keep them out of reach of small children.  Some companies make non-alcohol based hand sanitizers which are non-toxic, and there are also sanitized wipes which may be more suitable for your family’s needs.

About the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad

The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad is a volunteer organization of Neighbors Helping Neighbors.  With over 90 volunteers, we answer calls not only in Scotch Plains but in surrounding towns as well when needed.  Besides answering calls, you will see our ambulances at many special events held in town, such as Scotch Plains Day, the Memorial Day Parade, high school football games, and the summer concerts on the Village Green.  We are also available to provide demonstrations for Boys and Girls Scout troops, clubs, and any other group that may be interested in what we do.  In addition, we lend out wheelchairs, crutches, canes and other assorted medical equipment free of charge.  Please reach out to us if there is something we can do for you.  (908) 322-2103 for non-emergencies or

# # #

In 2017, The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad marks its 80th year of all volunteer emergency medical services to the community of Scotch Plains and surrounding communities, a distinction that very few rescue squads in the state have reached. 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Union County Students to 'March for Our Lives' Saturday in Union

March 19, 2018

UNION, NJ – Students from all over Union County will be walking from Burnet Middle School to Town Hall on Saturday morning, March 24, in an anti-gun violence march.

Led by steering committee chairman Colin Sumner, the march, which has the support of Senator Joseph Cryan, Moms Demand Action, Union County Chapter, and the Union County Freeholders, is not aimed at taking away guns, but ...

The Day After

Some years ago, the United Nations held the International Summit on Sustainable Development, here in Johannesburg. The Summit was a great success. One wonders, though, whether all the wonderful decisions and resolutions that were adopted were ever implemented. In other words, were they themselves sustainable?

Good ideas and worthwhile projects are suggested regularly. The question is, do they ...

The Role of Meal Replacements in Weight Loss

March 20, 2018

Obesity is at epidemic proportions in the United States and in other developed and developing countries. The prevalence of obesity is increasing not only in adults, but also in children and adolescents. We all know that obesity is a significant risk factor for various chronic illnesses, most importantly heart disease and diabetes, but also cancer and osteoarthritis, liver and kidney disease, ...

St. Bartholomew Academy Pee Wee Boys Win Championship

March 21, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- St. Bartholomew Academy Pee Wee Boys basketball won the Union County CYO Championships for their division on Sunday, March 11. Coached by Jim Reagan and Allison Yaeger, the team of third and fourth-grade boys defeated St. James the Apostle School 41-28 at St. Joseph’s School in Maplewood.

The Union County CYO Basketball League is open to Girls and Boys in ...

Upcoming Events


Fri, March 23, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Sun, March 25, 7:00 PM

Temple Sholom, Scotch Plains

The Displaced Persons Camp Experience

Religions And Spirituality


Tue, March 27, 7:30 PM

Temple Emanu-El , Westfield

Intergenerational Holocaust Event at Temple ...