Prevent the spread of germs on your children’s toys

Don’t forget the toy box when you are cleaning.

It’s been a long, cold winter mainly spent indoors with our kids due to the brutal temperatures. Add flu season to the mix and you might feel like your home is full of germs. It is important in our homes and other places where young children spend their time, for adults to realize that young children are more at risk for developing serious illness when exposed to germs. Maintaining a safe, clean environment for children in your care is crucial to their health.

Michigan State University Extension encourages parents and caregivers to follow the recommendations below from Fight BAC to keep their children’s toys clean and germ free:

  • Toys should be cleaned and sanitized regularly.
  • Any plastic or rubber toy that enters a child’s mouth must be sanitized and air-dried, or washed at a high temperature (170 degrees Fahrenheit or 76.67 degrees Celsius). Note: Be sure to check the manufacturer instructions to determine if the dishwasher will reach the correct temperature for the final rinse. If the dishwasher does not reach this temperature, then sanitize toys using a bleach solution.
  • Submerge, wipe or spray with a solution consisting of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach for every one gallon of warm water. Chlorine bleach is recommended since it is readily available, inexpensive, effective and safe in proper dilution.
  • For toys that can be immersed, pour the sanitizing solution in a large basin or sink. Remove all visible debris from the surface of the toys, and allow the toys to soak for one to five minutes to achieve sanitization.
  • For toys that cannot be immersed in sanitizing solution, clean all surfaces of the toy ensuring that clean cloths and solutions do not become contaminated (do not double dip). Allow surfaces to remain wet for one to five minutes to achieve sanitization.
  • For soft toys, pre-wash to remove visible debris. Then wash with detergent/bleach. Discard if necessary.
  • Machine wash the soft toys in hot water (at least 140-160 degrees Fahrenheit or 60-71.1 degrees Celsius) using bleach if fabrics are white.
  • Dry toys in a dryer on the high heat setting.

It does take extra time to thoroughly clean and sanitize your children’s toys, but making a plan to do so on a regular basis will help minimize the spread of germs and illness in your home.

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