The 10 Best Hand Sanitizers for Kids and Parents

Keep hands clean in sticky situations.
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By Martina Garvey, E-Commerce Editor
Updated August 7, 2023
Mom applying hand sanitizer to child's hands
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Parenting can be messy—and, more than ever before, hand hygiene has been top of mind for all caregivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), regular handwashing is one of the most effective ways to zap germs and avoid getting sick. However, if you don’t have access to soap and water when out and about with the kiddos, hand sanitizer is your next best bet.

Luckily, there are plenty to choose from. Many options are available, from alcohol-based gels and wipes to all-natural formulas, but some are more effective than others. Not sure where to begin your search? Here, you’ll find our top hand-hygiene safety tips—plus, a roundup of the best hand sanitizers for kids and parents.

Is Hand Sanitizer Safe for Kids

You want to protect your little one from germs and illnesses at all costs, but hand sanitizer isn’t always the best solution for young children. To that end, you may be wondering: Is hand sanitizer safe for babies and toddlers? The answer, unfortunately, isn’t quite as definitive as you may think. “Infants and young children can get alcohol poisoning from sanitizer, especially if they drink it,” says Alexis Phillips-Walker, DO, a pediatrician at Memorial Hermann Medical Group Pediatrics in Atascocita, Texas. What’s more, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ingesting just a small amount of sanitizer is dangerous for children, and can lead to alcohol-poisoning. There’s even a risk if they put a wet-with-sanitizer hand in their mouth. To that end, Phillips strongly advises against using alcohol-based sanitizers on baby and toddler hands.

The good news: Philips says that hand sanitizer is considered safe for kids ages 24 months and up, as long as an adult is supervising. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) asserts that children under the age of 5 must be closely watched when using alcohol-based hand sanitizers. These products should also be stored out of reach of children.

Different Types of Hand Sanitizers

Hand sanitizers fall into two distinct categories: Those that contain alcohol and those that don’t. Alcohol-based sanitizer is appropriate for anyone over the age of 2. (Remember, adult supervision is key to keeping kids safe). The AAP and the CDC both recommend using hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol as it’s most effective at eradicating germs and viruses, including COVID-19. Always read the ingredients list and don’t buy sanitizers that contain methanol (also called wood alcohol, methyl alcohol or methylated spirits) as it’s toxic if swallowed or used on the skin repeatedly.

It’s worth noting that many alcohol-free sanitizers contain the active ingredient benzalkonium chloride which has antiseptic properties. It’s often labeled as child-friendly, but, again, it’s not as effective as alcohol-based products and should still be used with grownup supervision. (For the record, the same goes for plant-based hand sanitizers.)

Now that we’ve discussed the different formulas, here are the most commonly used types:

Gels. Gels are a popular and economical type of hand sanitizer. Why? Products of this type often have a pump lid, which distributes the right amount of sanitizer with each squeeze. The liquid formula is also easy to rub into your hands.

Foams. This type of sanitizer is fast-drying and easy to apply. However, it tends to be more expensive than gels.

Sprays. Like foam options, sanitizer sprays dry quickly, but they are difficult to see once applied so it may be harder to get even coverage on your kids hands.

Wipes. Sanitizing hand wipes are great for cleaning sticky paws when you’re in a hurry. But they’re expensive and may not be as effective as liquid and foam sanitizers.

Best Hand Sanitizers for Kids and Parents

Ready to start shopping? Here are the best hand sanitizers for kids and grown-ups alike. Try one of these picks the next time you’re on the go—they’d be perfect to keep in your diaper bag or stroller.

Overall best hand sanitizer for kids

Babyganics Foaming Pump Hand Sanitizer
Image: Amazon

First up is an alcohol-free kids’ hand sanitizer by Babyganics. It’s fragrance-free, hypoallergenic and moisturizing, meaning it won’t dry out sensitive skin. On-the-go parents will also appreciate the travel-sized bottle. Better yet, the foaming formula kills 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria. One possible downside? This child-friendly option doesn’t protect against viruses like COVID-19.

Size: 8.45 fl. oz. | Active ingredients: Benzalkonium chloride (0.1%)

What We Love
  • Thoughtfully created from plant-based ingredients
  • Free from alcohol, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic fragrances and dyes
Things To Consider
  • Doesn’t protect against COVID-19 and similar viruses

Best smelling hand sanitizer

Touchland Power Mist Hydrating Hand Sanitizer Spray, Pack of 5
Image: Amazon

Searching for the best smelling hand sanitizer? Then Touchland is sure to check all of the boxes on your list—and then some. Their products come in a variety of mood-boosting scents, such as wild watermelon, citrus grove, rainwater and lemon lime spritz, to name a few. Thanks to ingredients like aloe vera and essential oils, you can count on them to keep your hands soft. What’s more, the cute bottles offer a fine mist that won’t leave your hands feeling sticky, while still providing protection against 99.9 percent of germs.

Size: 1 fl. oz. | Active ingredients: Ethyl alcohol

What We Love
  • Reviewers say these sanitizers smell amazing
  • Aesthetically pleasing, travel-friendly design
  • Available in a variety of scents and in a convenient pack of five
Things To Consider
  • Higher price point than other options on our list

Best hand sanitizer for travel

Paume Moisturizing Antibacterial Hand Gel
Image: Nordstrom

Safety-conscious parents will be fans of this moisturizing hand sanitizer from Paume. Made using plant-based emollients, the formula nourishes the skin, but still kills 99.9 percent of germs. You’ll also love how it features five essential oils to keep your hands soft, smooth and smelling great. Better yet, the compact bottle makes this an ideal hand sanitizer for travel, so you can cleanse your hands when you’re running errands with baby. Although it’s a little more expensive than other options, you can save by bundling in packs of three or [five]( to help you keep you germ-free for longer.

Size: 3 fl. oz. | Active ingredients: Ethyl alcohol

What We Love
  • Made with five essential oils to keep your hands soft and smelling great
  • Moisturizing formula created with sensitive, dry skin in mind
  • Bottle made from 65% recycled plastic
Things To Consider
  • Higher price point than other options on our list

Best moisturizing hand sanitizer for kids

Baby Bum Hand Sanitizer Antibacterial Spray, Pack of 3
Image: Amazon
Buying Options

Next up is a kids’ hand sanitizer spray by Baby Bum. This pediatrician and dermatologist-tested product was designed with children in mind, and it features sugar-cane alcohol, a germ-busting active ingredient which kills 99.9 percent of bacteria. Plus, the plant-based formula is free from harsh chemicals and contains coconut oil, banana and aloe to soothe all skin types. An added bonus: This product has thousands of five-star Amazon reviews from parents who love the beachy scent.

Size: 2 fl. oz. | Active ingredients: Ethyl alcohol (62%)

What We Love
  • Doesn’t dry skin out, according to parents
  • Reviewers also say they love the smell
  • Free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates and dyes
Things To Consider
  • Some reviewers report that the bottles leak at times

Best hand sanitizer for sensitive skin

Vaseline Clinical Care 2-in-1 Hand Sanitizer Pump Lotion, Unscented
Image: Target

The best hand sanitizers for sensitive skin are those created with soothing, moisturizing ingredients—just like this option from Vaseline. It’s made with glycerin and vitamin E, resulting in a non-greasy feel that will hydrate your skin while eliminating bacteria. Place this well-sized bottle in baby’s nursery or anywhere else in your home so that it’s easily accessible when you need a refresh—your hands will thank you!

Size: 8 fl. oz. | Active ingredients: Benzalkonium chloride (0.13%)

What We Love
  • 2-in-1 hand sanitizer and lotion
  • Recommended for dry, combination or normal skin
  • Made with nourishing ingredients to hydrate hands while cleaning them
Things To Consider
  • Larger bottle size isn’t great for travel
  • Not antiviral; doesn’t project against COVID-19

Best hand sanitizer wipes

Hand sanitizer wipes can help clean your kiddo up after a messy snack, arts and crafts, the playground or anything in between. Our favorites are these from Honest, which effectively remove dirt, grime and germs from your hands, without drying them out. For straightforward access while on the move, keep them handy in your kiddo’s backpack, in your car or anywhere else you may need them. Best of all, you can easily stock up on these hand sanitizer wipes, as they come in packs of 15, 50, 150, 300 or 450.

Size: N/A | Active ingredients: Ethyl alcohol (65%)

What We Love
  • Travel-friendly design to keep your kiddo clean on the go
  • Available in several uplifting scents and convenient multipacks
Things To Consider
  • Not for use as a baby wipe; for external use only
  • Honest only ships to the contiguous US; all sales are final

Best hand sanitizer spray

Founded by celebrity-mom Jessica Alba, Honest is known for its high-quality, sustainable products—and this kids’ hand sanitizer is no exception. The dermatologist-tested spray contains 62 percent alcohol to effectively kill germs, as well as naturally-derived glycerin and aloe to leave skin feeling soft and moisturized. You and your kiddo will also appreciate how this product absorbs quickly and won’t leave a sticky residue on the skin.

Size: 2 fl. oz. | Active ingredients: Ethyl alcohol (62%)

What We Love
  • Absorbs quickly to leave skin feeling smooth and soft
  • Available in several uplifting scents
  • EWG-verified formula for added peace of mind
  • Affordable price point
Things To Consider
  • Honest only ships to the contiguous US; all sales are final

Best hand sanitizer lotion

eos Shea Better Hand Sanitizer
Image: Amazon

Hand sanitizer lotions are great options for those with dry or sensitive skin, as they offer more moisturization—just like this option from eos. The formula consists of shea oil to instantly moisturize your hands, While the larger bottle size isn’t ideal for travel, it would be perfect for keeping near baby’s changing table. All in all, it’s easy to see why this kids’ hand sanitizer has hundreds of positive reviews!

Size: 8 fl. oz. | Active ingredients: Ethyl alcohol (70%)

What We Love
  • Made with shea oil to keep hands soft and smelling great
  • Thick formula is fast-absorbing won’t dry out skin
  • Free of parabens, phthalates and gluten
Things To Consider
  • Larger bottle size isn’t travel-friendly
  • Higher percentage of alcohol than other options on our list

Best natural hand sanitizer

Parents looking for a natural solution will appreciate this hand sanitizer spray from Dr. Bronner’s. Not only is it 99.9 percent effective against germs, but it also has a simple formula that’s USDA organic, fair trade-certified and vegan to boot. The convenient size makes it travel-friendly, so you can easily clean your (and your kiddo’s hands) when you’re out and about. Another highlight: Reviewers say they love the smell!

Size: 2 fl. oz. | Active ingredients: Ethyl alcohol (62%)

What We Love
  • Compact size is travel-friendly
  • Formula is USDA organic, fair trade-certified and vegan
  • Reviewers love the natural smell
Things To Consider
  • Higher price point than other options on our list

Best hand sanitizer for diaper bags

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Gel (Pack of 8)
Image: Amazon

Purell is the go-to brand for American families and medical professionals—and with good reason. With 70 percent alcohol, one squirt of Purell Advanced kills 99.9 percent of germs, providing twice the sanitizing strength of other national brands. Plus, it’s free from parabens, aluminum and dyes. And when you have your hands full with your infant or tot, you’ll appreciate the convenient clip-on carriers that provide easy access to cleanliness.

Size: 1 fl. oz. | Active ingredients: Ethyl alcohol (70%)

What We Love
  • Strong, effective formula
  • Travel-friendly design comes with convenient carriers
  • Affordable price point
Things To Consider
  • Higher percentage of alcohol than other options on our list

How We Chose the Best Hand Sanitizers for Kids

We know keeping your kiddo safe and healthy is your top priority—so to help you out, we rounded up the best kids’ hand sanitizers on the market. We browsed options from top brands and online retailers, and considered several factors when sourcing products, like ingredient lists, sanitizer type, packaging, value and effectiveness. What’s more, we read user reviews to get the low-down on how these products work for families, and didn’t consider anything with less than an average four-star rating.

To make sure we’re highlighting hand sanitizers that are safe and effective, we chatted with a pediatrician to understand essential features and safety considerations to keep top of mind when you’re shopping. We also followed the safety recommendations of the AAP, FDA and CDC.

Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.


Alexis Phillips-Walker, DO, is a pediatrician at Memorial Hermann Medical Group Pediatrics in Atascocita, Texas. She earned her medical degree from Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens.

CDC, Handwashing in Communities: Clean Hands Save Lives, May 2023

FDA, Q&A for Consumers | Hand Sanitizers and COVID-19, May 2022

Healthy Children (AAP), Hand Sanitizers: Keep Children Safe from Poisoning Risk, October 2021

CDC, How to Protect Yourself and Others, July 2023

Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial process.

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