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10 Safe Uses of Alcohols for Kids

December 14, 2011

Many parents are concerned about exposing their children to alcohol and carefully monitor products they come in contact with. What most people don’t realize is that there are many different forms of alcohol that are used in common household items and even food.  An alcohol is any organic compound in which is bound to a carbon atom, usually connected to other carbon or hydrogen atoms. The three basic alcohols are ethanol, isopropyl alcohol and tert-butyl alcohol. The fundamental properties of these compounds have numerous applications, so here are 10 safe uses of alcohols for kids.

  1. Rubbing alcohol – Isopropyl alcohol is the main ingredient in rubbing alcohol and can be found in just about every home. It’s used as a disinfectant, antiseptic and can also be used to cool and soother the skin. When kids get their immunization shots the nurse will first disinfect the surrounding skin with alcohol.
  2. Ink – Most people don’t realize that alcohol is used in the production of the ink in the pens and markers kids love to use. Butyl acetate solvent has many industrial uses and one of them is in the manufacture of inks.
  3. Paint – Butyl acetate solvent is also used in the manufacture of many paints. Children love to paint, so alcohol plays a big role in enriching their lives.
  4. Ice cream – Believe it or not, alcohol is also used in many food items including ice cream. Kids love ice cream even though a form of tert-butyl alcohol is used safely as a synthetic fruit flavoring.
  5. Candy – Sorbitol, Mannitol, Xylitol and Maltitol are sugar alcohols used in many sugar free candies and gums. Of course parents want to limit the amount of sugary candy their children consume to prevent obesity and cavities. These sugar free alternatives are safe for kids to consume in moderation.
  6. Baked goods – Another use of tert-butyl alcohol is in many baked goods with synthetic fruit flavoring that kids love. Of course home made muffins with real blueberries are best, but can be expensive and time consuming. Chances are any pre-packaged baked products or mixes contain safe amounts of an alcohol subset.
  7. Cheese – This form of alcohol is even used in the flavorings for cheese. Most kids love cheese and parents can’t object to their kids consuming this healthy dairy product.
  8. Medications – The biggest concern parents have is for alcohol found in children’s medications. However, the reason it’s in many cough and cold medications is because alcohol is used to kill germs and dilate tissues in the throat for a warm, relaxed feeling. The lower percentage used in children’s medications are considered safe, such as the alcohol used in some teething medications.
  9. Hand sanitizer – Most schools, clinics and other public places encourage the use of hand sanitizer to limit the spread of germs. Alcohol based hand sanitizers are more effective at killing germs than soaps and don’t dry out hands as much.
  10. Lotion – One popular baby lotion lists cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol and butylenes glycol in the ingredients. Small amounts of these various alcohols are used in many lotions to soothe the itching and redness of dry skin while remaining gentile enough for infants.

Alcohol is a nearly universal solvent used to mix together various chemicals. You would be amazed at how many different products have some form of alcohol used as an ingredient or in their production. Of course parents don’t want their children drinking alcoholic beverages, but they need not be concerned about the many safe uses of the various forms of alcohols in common products and food items.


6 Responses to 10 Safe Uses of Alcohols for Kids

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Jillian says:

It always weirds me out when I think about alcohol being in ice cream. That’s just one of those things that I feel like doesn’t belong. But hey, I also love ice cream, sooo… whatever works!

Jess says:

ew, that weirds me out too – kind of makes you think twice about what you’re eating…

Tracy says:

All of those hard to pronounce, foreign sounding names that are listed in candy are exactly why i try to limit my kids exposure to that kind of stuff… it just doesn’t sound like things that should be going into thier bodies.

Nikki says:

I feel exactly the same way. I want my kids to fill their body with natural things, not things that sound like they’ve been developed in a lab (and in all honesty, probably have)

Frances H. says:

I didn’t know there was alcohol in cheese! How odd!

Madeline P says:

i know hand sanitizer is kind of a hot topic, but i would avoid it if you can – our kids need some exposure to germs to stay healthy. /gets off soap box/