The germiest places for your baby are lurking everywhere!
Yes, germs are indeed everywhere and they are impossible to avoid completely. But that’s not entirely bad. Experts believe exposure to some microorganisms, even those that may lead to sickness, help build the immune system and may reduce the likelihood of allergies. The fine line between how much exposure and what type of exposure is complicated, however.
Let’s start by looking at the germiest places for your baby:
Indoor and outdoor playgrounds are teaming with nasty germs waiting to prey on your little one. Kids are notorious for not being the most hygienic and each of them is contributing to the pool of grossness that exists in these play spaces. If your baby is crawling on the playground rather than walking, the microbes are exponential. And get this: sandboxes can be the worst because animals leave behind feces that can cause parasites. Yuck!
Of course, going to playgrounds is good for your baby and older kids for physical activity, social interaction, fresh air and the variety of stimuli that exists in these environments. So don’t dismiss them altogether, just know the risks.
The big kids are back in school and probably bringing home a lot of germs. Plus, you and your pets are tracking in a host of things from your shoes, clothes and fur. Carpets and hand towels can retain a lot of microbes that are reintroduced if they are not cleaned regularly. Toys that ping-pong from the floor to your baby’s mouth are extremely dirty too, the worst of which are stuffed animals that not-so-innocently hold in tons of germs. Also, your baby’s changing station is likely to collect a huge amount of diaper germs.
As your baby picks up microbes from wherever you’ve been, she’s depositing them in her car seat. And that’s not to mention the food particles, drool and potential fecal matter lingering from a blowout.
It’s ironic that the place you go to for health and healing may cause your baby to get sick. Since pediatricians see a lot of sick kids every day, their offices house microbes and viruses that could give your baby a cold or flu.
Other Public Places
Public restrooms are obviously full of toilet-related germs that can be extremely dangerous for your baby. Supermarkets and the carts where your baby and thousands of other babies are sitting are a favorite place for microbes to hide. Public transportation, museums, malls, restaurants and sporting events where many people are sharing and spreading germs are also among the germiest places for your baby.
So now that you know the truth behind the germiest places for your baby, what’s a health-conscious mama to do?
You’re already breastfeeding, the very best thing to keep your baby healthy and build her immune system. How else are you to protect your little love from the germiest places for your baby? Here are some tips:
- Wash your baby’s hands often, especially before eating if she’s started solids. Always wash after coming home from a public space.
- Wash your hands before touching your baby, before breastfeeding, before pumping or preparing bottles, before and after diaper changes and any time you’ve come in contact with a potentially germy situation.
- Request that everyone removes their shoes in your house.
- Change your baby’s clothes before naps if you’ve been out of the house to avoid germs from clinging to her crib.
- Clean your floors, carpets, hand towels and toys regularly.
- Wipe down your baby’s changing station, car seat and other surfaces she frequents with baby-safe disinfecting wipes or spray.
- Stay away from others in the doctor’s office as much as possible. If you’re there for a well visit, stay out of the sick section.
- Cover or wipe down carts in the supermarket before your baby sits in them. Do the same for high chairs in restaurants too.
- Avoid your baby crawling and touching a variety of public spaces, especially in public restrooms.
- Charge your older children with washing their hands regularly too, to help keep the entire family safe.
Sources: Momtastic, WebMD, Mother Nature Network and Parenting