Mamas & Papas Magazine December/January 2016July 11, 2016
Your Baby – September 2009August 3, 2016
Where are the dirtiest places where germs live. Here are some surprising areas:
- Toothbrush holder – the toothbrush holder was named the third-germiest spot in the home in a 2011 study.
- Pets – pets and kids are natural friends but pets can transmit bacteria, viruses, and parasites to kids. Pet toys and bowls are also a concern for risk.
- Backyards – exposure to bacteria in dirt is good for kids, experts say, but beware of some hazards, for example animal droppings.
- Refrigerators – open bottles, left-over food, spoiled milk and other contaminated food can contain salmonella, campylobacter, and norovirus, which can cause upset stomach and diarrhea and are common kitchen bacteria and viruses.
- Animal Environments – petting zoos, educational farms, and school exhibits where kids can get close to animals are great places to learn but they are also places for bacteria to spread.
- Floors – with food spills, grease, dirt, and human/pet traffic, kitchen floors can be filthy places to play. Carpet and hard floors may be covered in dust mites, mold, food particles, outside dirt, and even bits of insects.
- Standing water – a pool of standing/stagnent water is a tempting place for kids to play for example a pond, a bucket of rainwater under a leaky roof, or a puddle in a tire swing after a storm. It’s also a breeding ground for mold, mildew, bacteria, and insects such as mosquitoes.
- Germs at School – a 2006 study in two Michigan USA schools found about 800 times more germs on classroom water fountains than on toilet seats. Another study found that grade-schoolers’ absences for illness were cut in half when children used hand sanitizers and when areas such as desktops were disinfected daily.
- Play Spots and Gyms – Schools and day care centers, especially those with sports or playground facilities and equipment, are hot spots for the spread of bacteria such as MRSA. Sharing towels and playing contact sports such as wrestling are other ways it spreads.
- Sand boxes – a 2010 study found sandboxes have the highest level of bacteria in the playground — 7,440 per inch. These bacteria come from animals (like cats) as well as human saliva, hands, food, and diapers. Not all germs are harmful, of course, but where there are a lot of bacteria, it’s likely that some are.
- Shopping Malls – studies show escalator rails, elevator buttons, video game controllers (such as at movie theaters and arcades), and ATMs as germ hot spots because they are not cleaned regularly. Washing hands can help, but scrub thoroughly: Public restroom sinks and faucets carry lots of germs also.
Common child behaviors often invite germs. like picking their noses, biting their nails, or wiping runny noses with their hands. Most kids don’t wash their hands as often or as well as they should. Since hand-washing is the first line of defense against the cold, flu, and other contagious illnesses, remind children how and when to do it.