Hand sanitizer possibly better than soap, study finds

Hand sanitizer, not soap, could keep your young ones healthy, new study finds.

The latest hand hygiene research among young children in daycare may be pointing to hand sanitizer, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

More than 900 children three years old or younger at two dozens day cares in Almeria, Spain participated in the study, which took place over the course of eight months. The researchers found that children who used hand sanitizer, instead of soap and water, reduced their sick days, respiratory infections - causing runny noses or sore throat-and antibiotic prescriptions.

The hand sanitizer group missed 3.25 percent of days of day care, compared to the group who used only soap and water, which missed 3.9 percent of days. The study found that the group that used soap and water had a 21 percent higher risk of contracting a respiratory infection and a 31 percent higher risk of being prescribed antibiotics than those that used hand sanitizer.