Sunday, November 28, 2010

Keeping it clean

I have two wee ones in my care one of whom is my own and one that comes in for care.  These two little ones seem to always be sick.  If its not one its the other.  We have had so much go around the daycare since I have open in the beginning of September.  I have dealt with the cold, flu, teething, ear infections, hand-foot-and-mouth disease, and a whole lotta pink eye (both of them have had it twice now).  I clean, clean, and clean and they still pass it around.  As a caregiver and love children it breaks my heart to see one sick.  My oldest son is 6 and between him and my daughter I don't think the two of them together have been as sick as my youngest have and he is only 8 months.  Its been such a task to keep these kidlets healthy.  I thought of not taking sick ones, but I know as a working mom for a few years its hard to always take time off, you need the money, you need the job, but you don't know what to do with your poor little one who is sick and just wants to be held or sleep.  I love the fact that my parents know they can trust their children in my care when they are sick.  I use Lysol almost nightly to try and clean the toys they use, I don't know if I can even count the number of cans I have gone through the last few months just trying to keep up with illnesses.  I thought it might be a good idea to let others know of a few good cleaning tips also.

Choose toys carefully. Look for washable toys and throw out items that won't come clean, Where possible, avoid porous, stuffed or otherwise difficult-to-scrub items.

Wash 'em regularly. You don't need to scrub toys weekly, as many day cares do, but perhaps once a month or at least when toys are visibly dirty. Throw toys into the top rack of a dishwasher or the washing machine, or hand wash them in dish soap and water or if plastic you can use bleach and water. Not all toys indicate whether they're dishwasher safe, so use your judgment. If you're concerned that something might melt, wash it by hand.

Blast germs when required. Disinfect toys and other surfaces (say, toy boxes or crib rails) if you, your child or a visiting playmate has been ill. A bleach-water solution or non-aerosol disinfectant such as Lysol should do the trick (Be sure to read ingredients and labels carefully.) Note that if your dishwasher or laundry machine uses 130-degree water, disinfectant is unnecessary, but if you feel the need to use it, go ahead, its not going to hurt anything but those bad old germs.

Give stuffed toys the deep freeze. If your child has tested positive for dust-mite allergy, put their stuffed toys in a plastic covering and freeze them for three to five hours once a week. "This kills most living dust mites," These microscopic, spider-like mites are one of the most common allergy and asthma triggers. To find out if your child has a dust-mite allergy, ask your family doctor for a blood- or skin-prick allergy test.

Ditch bath toys with holes. Sure, you can and should squeeze water out of tub toys, hang them to dry in a netting bag and wash and disinfect them as above. But bath toys with holes can become a breeding ground for mold, so why not avoid them altogether? I don't always agree with this right away, but once I notice any toys getting that lovely black guck in them then I toss them at that time.  I do know people that will not allow any such things to be used by their child because of the mold, but I also find my children enjoy the good old plastic sour cream contains or the used up bubble bath containers just as much as the actual bath toys themselves.

Keep washing those hands. This is important especially after school or visits to the playground. A recent University of Arizona study found that children's playground equipment and daycare centers were the most frequently contaminated public places of over 1,000 surfaces tested. Washing hands before kids play with their home toys can keep them from spreading bacteria around. "The average child has up to six colds a year, but regular hand washing can cut that in half".  Good news though is that we are more aware of illnesses these days and most people do proper cleaning and hygiene to keep them away.

I have all children in my care wash their hands before and after every meal, after we come inside and of course after they use the bathroom.  I don't always agree on being 100% clean because then your child doesn't get immune to anything and will get sick when out in the public, but at the same time, I do believe in a safe and healthy environment for all.  Kids will be kids and you can't blame any one person on your child getting sick, it just isn't right.  Its not fun to deal with a sick or icky child but take the right measures and most are able to recover with in a few days and are back to their normal busy selves.

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