With spring cleaning season upon us, it’s a great time for parents to think about one of the most germ-filled rooms in their homes – the nursery. A baby’s immune system is not nearly as strong as an adult’s, meaning we must take measures to keep baby’s nursery clean and germ-free.
The list below is brought to by Dr. Benjamin Tanner, president and founder of the Antimicrobial Test Laboratories, LLC (a microbiology laboratory that specializes in the development of disinfectant and antimicrobial technologies) and the fine folks at Diaper Genie.
10 Simple Tips to Maintain a Healthy and Germ-Free Nursery
1. – Identify the germ “hot spots” within your nursery and clean them often. Germ hot spots within the nursery are the areas that come in contact with waste in diapers and other body fluids, either directly or indirectly. Diaper waste–and the millions and millions of 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. And 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, since toys come in contact with playmates’ hands, skin, and mouths.
2. – 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.
3. – Set aside a special place in the nursery for disinfectants so they’re readily available for quick cleaning but safely out of reach of children Even “non-toxic” cleaners can be dangerous to children, so keep cleaners on a high shelf in the closet or a child-proofed drawer of the dresser.
4. Keep messes (and germs) to a minimum when changing dirty diapers in the nursery. Establish a quick, mess-free diaper changing routine, and keep supplies handy and close by.
– Get rid of diapers in a hygienic fashion that keeps germs sealed away. Dr. Tanner recommends the Diaper Genie II Elite™ Disposal System. It seals odor into the pail and out of your nursery unlike an ordinary trash can and plastic bag. Diapers only touch the disposable film, not the pail, so there is one less thing to clean. The Diaper Genie II Elite™ Disposal System also has Antimicrobial Protection built into the plastic to inhibit odor-causing bacteria.
5. – Keep soap and warm water, or where soap and water are not available, antibacterial hand wipes, nearby to use after changing your baby in the nursery. This will help stop the spread of germs within the nursery.
6. – Keep baby bottles away from germ hot spots, such as the changing table, and only handle them when your hands are clean Harmful germs can grow very quickly in formula and breast milk – be sure to keep bottles clean and dry when not in use.
7. – Keep a special hamper inside the nursery to use specifically for heavily soiled baby laundry. This special, separate hamper will help prevent bacteria on heavily soiled laundry from spreading throughout the rest of the nursery. Also, take special care when laundering heavily soiled baby clothing and bedding to prevent the spread of germs through the laundry.
8. – Take special precautions within the nursery when baby is sick to prevent spread of illness to other children and throughout the rest of the nursery.
9. – Take special precautions in the nursery when you or other family members are sick, to keep from giving your infection to baby and spreading throughout the nursery.
10. – I know we all love our furry and/or scaly children, but you should reduce pet access to the nursery.
– Reptiles and birds frequently harbor dangerous germs, like Salmonella. Make sure that 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.
– 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.
– 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.