A healthy baby is a happy baby. But since they have no concept of clean and dirty yet, and their very nature makes them explore their environment in sometimes dangerous ways (like putting a toy they picked up from the floor in their mouths, causing either choking or contracting germs that could cause fevers or worse), it’s important to keep a hawk’s eye on them and making the places they come in contact with germ-free.
While we all have a decent collection of germs in our skin and even in our guts that perform a host of beneficial roles, most germs can make your child ill as they don’t yet have a fully mature defense system to cope with the onslaught of fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasites.
To keep their space as visibly and microscopically clean as possible, parents resort to using disinfectants that may not necessarily be child-friendly. Make sure instead that cleansing agents are child-appropriate by choosing products that are free from parabens, fragrances, dyes, alcohol and phthalates that could irritate the baby’s system.
When eager relatives and friends come visit, make sure they don’t bring with them the unwelcome gift of contagious diseases. Anyone with even a slight fever, sniffles, sore throat, sneezes or cough should be reminded that the best gift they could give at this time is to stay away from the child. As this may not be altogether preventable, lest you make a lot of important people feel left out, use air purifiers to keep the ventilation in the child’s room germ-free.
Washing hands is mandatory for anyone who comes in contact with the child. A 20-second rub with warm water and soap is usually sufficient to prevent the spread of germs, especially when that same hands have just visited the bathroom, shaken another person’s hand, or handled raw meat, vegetables, fruits or pets.
Also steer clear from kissing the child, especially the newborn, in the face. While that may look adorable, it is not healthy, as far as smearing the newborn’s cheek with mucus and saliva, two hotbeds for germs.
By the time the baby hits at least eight months old, he or she will be old enough to be taught the value of washing hands. Sing the alphabet song as you do. (This is how long it takes to kill the bacteria and get the little one’s hands clean.)
When trying to assess how thorough you should be in keeping the baby and the baby’s place clean (and the hands of those who come in contact with them), remember the following dirtiest places, from most to least, as far as babies are concerned: kitchen sink, carpets, playgrounds, shopping cart handles, bathtubs, and bed linens.