MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s one of the most popular items since COVID-19 began. Hand sanitizer is something most of us now have in our cars, on our desks and in our bags.

As effective as it is at fighting germs, it’s also causing some scary situations. WCCO found out some important information about where you store your sanitizer, especially if kids are around.

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Keiona Cook teaches sewing classes that include yoga breaks at Lovely Sewing and Arts Collective in the North Loop of Minneapolis. For a while, COVID-19 paused her passion.

“My livelihood, my giving back to the community was completely taken away from me, so to have it back is just, the feeling is indescribable,” Cook said.

However, with the return to business come some new rules.

“On all of the spaces we have the hand sanitizers. The kids have to make sure they are sanitizing their hands as they are touching the sewing machines, as they are coming back from the restroom. It’s just very very important because germs are just all over the place,” she said.

They are doing things right according to the experts.

“We encourage the use of hand sanitizer,” Dr. Jon Cole, an HCMC ER physician who runs the poison control center, said.

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Cole says, since COVID-19 hit, the poison control center has had an explosion of call about kids swallowing sanitizer. He shared a suggestion.

“We think the best paradigm is for parents to think of them like medication. So just like all medications, we recommend that you keep them up high, out of visible areas,” Cook said.

He says most sanitizers aren’t toxic, but since July, some sanitizers have been circulation that have methanol, a dangerous ingredient that’s made its way on the market.

“Methanol is extremely concerning because a mouth full of concentrated methanol is a toxic amount and could endanger a child’s eyesight or even their life,” Cook said.

He says to keep any bottles away from small kids and check out the FDA-approved list of options.

Cole says, for anyone who is around kids, jot the number for poison control down or put it in your phone. They take calls and answer questions around the clock at 1-800-222-1222.

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Also, click here for information from the National Poison Center Data on hand sanitizers.

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Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield