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Clean & Healthy Places for Kids

Guest post: Dr. Tanya Altmann

Keeping our little ones as germ-free as possible, inside & outside the home

A germ playground

Sometimes the youngest family members are the ones most likely to pick up germs that can lead to infections or viruses. The sharing of germs between little ones can be accomplished through playing patty-cake; toy exchanges and — let’s face it — playing in places where germs tend to thrive.

The sharing of germs is especially rampant at daycares according to the National Institutes of Health, who claim children in daycare centers are more susceptible to catching an infection than kids who do not attend daycare. These infections are most often spread by children putting dirty toys in their mouths.

Keeping children germ-free

Helping little ones fix this unfortunate hand-to-mouth habit is challenging, so many daycare facilities have turned to preventative measures to keep the children they care for as germ-free as possible. In fact, organizations like the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the California Childcare Health Program recommend using disinfecting bleach, like Clorox® Regular Bleach1, to help stop the spread of germs in daycare facilities, notably on nonporous surfaces such as plastic toys, countertops, changing tables and high chairs.2

Stop the spread at home

As a doctor, I know germs that dwell outside the home can also find their way inside. To help keep my house as germ-free as possible, I closely follow recommendations from organizations like the NAEYC and turn to bleach to help stop the spread of viruses that may cause infections at my house, especially when a family member is ill. This cleaning regime sometimes involves a process of (dirty toy) elimination!

The first line of defense is selecting toys that are washable and avoiding, whenever possible, those that are porous, stuffed or generally difficult to clean, like bath toys with holes in them. Here’s a checklist of nonporous items and surfaces to keep clean around your house:

  • Plastic toys
  • Bathroom and kitchen countertops
  • High chairs
  • Changing tables
  • Bathtubs
  • Potty training toilets

A happy, healthy routine

Scrubbing toys and washing surfaces weekly is my go-to approach. But as busy parents we know this doesn’t always happen so disinfecting with Clorox® Regular Bleach1 once every other week will also suffice.

Having messy kids is inevitable. But by keeping places and objects — both outside and inside the home — as germ-free as possible, our children can get back to what’s most important: being young, and enjoying a happy, healthy and sometimes messy life!

1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001974.htm
2. Clorox Master Label