Hidden Germ Hotspots
You make your friends wash their hands AND use sanitizer before holding the baby. You have a whole procedure for cleanliness around diaper changes. You give the side-eye to parents who bring their runny-nosed little ones over for a play date or visit. When it comes to kids, battling the invisible -- sickness-causing germs and bacteria -- is a constant fight. But while you might be very aware of the microbial hot spots in, say, your bathroom, are you overlooking the germiest part of your house? Turns out your baby's room is a haven for germs.
Here's where they lurk and how to keep them at bay.
- The Changing Table. It may seem like we're stating the obvious, but the changing table is a great place for E. coli to hang out. Yes, you need to wash your hands after every diaper change, but also be sure to clean the table itself with a non-toxic disinfecting wipe each time.
- The Carpet. Even a clean carpet or area rug can be pretty dirty, trapping the crud from the bottom of your shoes, leakage from diapers, baby drool, etc. Keep it as clean as you can by vacuuming frequently -- three or four times a week -- and steam-cleaning every couple of months.
- The Toys. Toys get chewed on, dropped and carried around all day. Naturally, they're covered in germs. Keep them clean with the same nontoxic wipes you'll use on the changing table. Some toys (particularly hard plastic and rubber items) can be run through the dishwasher for an intense cleaning.
- The Stuffed Animals. They're well-loved -- which means germs cling to them. If you can, toss them into the washing machine with hot water and bleach every three weeks and dry on high heat for 45 minutes. If they can't be washed, a 45 minute spin in the dryer is better than nothing.