Healthy Nursery, Healthy Baby
Tips for maintaining a healthy and germ-free nursery, courtesy of Playtex and Dr. Benjamin Tanner, Ph.D., a leading expert in fighting household germs:
Identify the germ "hot spots" within your nursery and clean them often. Germ hot spots are the areas that come in contact with waste in diapers and other body fluids, either directly or indirectly. Diaper waste – and the germs in it – can be spread by hands and objects that come in contact with it. Since germs are microscopic and invisible to the naked eye, it's easy to spread many of them to clean surfaces without knowing it. Areas where most bacteria typically gather include:
· Changing table – This is the place where diaper messes and germs are transferred from the diaper to baby's skin – and possibly Mom's hands. A dirty diaper likely has more germs inside it than anything else in the nursery.
· Laundry hamper – Studies have shown that laundry, especially if it has come in contact with bodily fluids, can harbor great quantities of bacteria and even spread them to clean clothes through normal washing cycles.
· Floor – Germs on the floor are not a concern for adults, but the floor is where babies lay, crawl, and play. Most floor germs aren't of the harmful type, but it's still a hot spot to keep an eye on.
· Toys/toy chest – The average toy isn't loaded with germs, but toys will transmit them easily if they become contaminated because toys come in contact with playmates' hands, skin, and mouths.
Learn the difference between cleaners and disinfectants and which is appropriate for your nursery. Cleaners remove most soils but may spread germs around. Disinfectants actually kill germs when used correctly.
· To use a disinfectant correctly in a nursery, remove your baby from the spray or wipe zone and apply the product liberally. After the label-specified contact time elapses, wipe off the surface with a wet cloth or paper towel to get rid of any irritating residual chemicals so your baby's delicate skin does not touch these chemicals.
· It's also wise to disinfect hard floors and vacuum carpets routinely to keep germ levels low.
· Tip: Disinfectants say "disinfects," "antibacterial" or "sanitizes" on the label.
· Reduce pet access to the nursery. Dogs and cats are less risky but still may carry certain kinds of harmful bacteria. Cats may harbor a parasite that is of particular concern to pregnant women. If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, avoid changing cat litter to reduce exposure to the parasite Toxoplasma.
· Reptiles and birds frequently harbor dangerous germs, like Salmonella. Make sure children wash hands well with soap and warm water after handling reptiles and before coming into the nursery, and keep bird bedding/litter out of the nursery altogether.
· If a pet makes a mess on the carpet, make sure to spray it with a non-bleach disinfectant after cleanup to prevent those germs from spreading to baby during playtime.