Routine cleaning and sanitizing of children’s toys is a critical line of defense against the spread of infectious diseases such as colds and flu caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites. These diseases can be spread from one child to another when handling infected toys.
These infectious diseases can be spread in four different ways:
- Through the instestinal tract with infectious diarrhea, pinworms and Hepatitis A
- Through the respiratory tract by secretions or fluids from the child’s eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs as with colds, Roseola, Influenza, strep throat, scarlet fever, and chicken pox.
- Through direct contact by touching toys infected with Impetigo, Ringworm, Conjunctivitis, scabies, and head lice.
- Through blood contact with AIDS and Hepatitis B.
Communicable diseases are spread by children who do not look or feel sick. The body secretions from infectious children get onto the surfaces of toys when breathed upon, touched, coughed upon, sneezed upon, or put into the mouth.
The germs from many infectious diseases thrive on toys, hands, and faces. The following disinfecting solutions will prevent the spread of diseases from one child to another when they are playing with the same toys. It is important to clean and disinfect all toys shared by children on a daily basis.
It is not necessary to spend a lot of money on commercial disinfectants.
The best disinfectant against all types of communicable diseases is found right in the laundry room. This disinfectant is ordinary household bleach that can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of other commercially advertised household cleaners.
There are two different mixtures for disinfecting toys and other areas of the home. One of the bleach mixtures is for standard disinfection of toys, while the other is for a stronger disinfecting solution.
Standard Bleach Mixture:
The Standard Bleach Mixture of one tablespoon of bleach mixed with one quart of water is used for routine sanitation of toys using a spray bottle. This mixture is also perfect for sanitizing changing tables after each use, diaper pails, potty chairs, play tables, eating utensils, and sippy cups.
Strong Bleach Mixture:
The Strong Bleach Mixture of one part bleach mixed with ten parts water is used for disinfecting toys and other household items that have come into contact with blood, vomit, bowel matter, and bodily fluids.
Each of these bleach mixtures must be mixed fresh every day because bleach loses its effectiveness when exposed to the air.
Washing and Disinfecting Toys:
Wash all toys that have been in children’s mouths at least once a day with soap and water, then spray with the Standard Bleach Mixture. Let the bleach mixture dry on the toys.
Small toys that fit in a dishwasher may also be disinfected when put through the wash and dry cycles.
Larger toys can be washed in a tub full of the Standard Bleach Mixture then left to air dry. This will kill all of the germs from the entire surface of the toys.
Outdoor play areas can be disinfected using a garden hose with a bottle connection that mixes the bleach with the water. These bottles are found in the garden section of department stores. A scrub brush and bucket of the Standard Bleach Mixture can also be used.
Daily disinfecting of toys helps keep children healthy without the spread of infectious diseases. Disinfecting toys is the best safeguard from the spread of illnesses in children.