A while ago I participated in the Diaper Genie Germ Swab test where I needed to swab 5 areas in my home and nursery that are most likely to host nasty germs . . . changing table, doorknob to the nursery, plastic toy, crib railing, and an item of my choice . . . the remote control.
The swabs were then sent to Dr. BenjaminTanner, a germ expert, who is currently partnering with Playtex Baby to address simple ways that moms can help maintain a clean and germ-free nursery environment. He holds a B.S. in Molecular Biology and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Arizona, where he studied environmentally mediated disease transmission and assessed infection risks for workers with Dr. Charles Gerba. Dr. Tanner is also the founder and principal of Antimicrobial Test Laboratories, LLC, a microbiology laboratory that specializes in testing and development of disinfectant chemicals and other antimicrobial technologies.
While conducting this experiment I came to the preliminary conclusion that the remote control would probably have the most germs because it’s the item that’s handled the most by my family and I can’t remember ever really cleaning it before. I also thought that the diaper changing table would also house germs even though I try to clean it on a weekly basis.
Here are the results:
After analyzing the swabs from your changing table, crib rail, doorknob, plastic toy and mom’s choice it appears that your nursery is in decent shape. None of your swab tests returned bad germ results. I primarily detected “ordinary” germs. Ordinary germs are nothing to be afraid of. The “enteric” germs and E. coli we tested for in your nursery are also not cause for concern (most E. coli do not cause disease).
However, that’s not to say that there weren’t any germs detected in those areas. On the contrary. There were 2 types of bacteria that was tested for:
- Enteric bacteria-Â A rod shaped bacteria that often occurs naturally or pathogenically in the intestines of humans
- E. Coli bacteria-Â A rod shaped bacteria that is most often found in the lower intestines of warm-Âblooded organisms. Most e. coli are harmless but some can cause food poising in humans
The specific results found that the majority of my swabs (four out of five) returned ZERO E. Coli bacteria per swab, but the plastic toy did return greater than normal amount of E. Coli bacteria per swab. Additionally my changing table, doorknob and plastic toy returned greater than normal Enteric bacteria while the crib rail and remote control returned zero bacteria per swab.
I have to say that I am a little surprised at the results but pleased that the only real area of concern are the plastic toys. Those are pretty easy to clean and disinfect. However, that doesn’t mean that I can slack in the other areas. I still need to be vigilant in keeping those places clean . . . and germ-free . . . for the sake of my family.
But how do I do this? Here are some tips by Dr. Tanner to maintain a clean and healthy nursery:
Maintaining a clean and healthy nursery for your little one can seem like a never ending task. A recent Playtex survey revealed that having a clean and healthy nursery environment is a key priority for 65% of moms, underscoring the importance of keeping this special room as sanitary as possible. Germ expert Dr. Benjamin Tanner offers five simple and easy tips to help parents do just that.
Learn the ABCs of disinfectants vs. cleaners: Cleaners remove soils, but may still spread germs around, while disinfectants 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-Âspecified time elapses, wipe off the surface with a wet cloth to get rid of any residual chemicals so your baby’s delicate skin doesn’t touch these chemicals. It’s also wise to disinfect hard wood floors and vacuum carpets routinely to keep germ levels low.
Know the nursery hot spots: Germ “hot spots” in the nursery are areas that come in contact with waste in diapers and other body fluids, directly or indirectly. Areas where most bacteria typically gather include the floor, changing table, toys and toy chest, and laundry hamper â£ these spots should be disinfected at least once a day to kill these bacteria. Make sure to focus on these key areas more than others when disinfecting in the nursery, and use a proper disinfectant, not just a cleaner.
Eliminate germs and messes during change time: The changing table is one of the key hot spots, and the place where diaper messes and germs are transferred from the diaper to baby’s skin. Establish a quick mess-Âfree diaper changing routine to help keep these germs at bay, keeping supplies handy and close by in a dedicated changing area. Get rid of diapers in a hygienic fashion that keeps germs sealed away -Â the Diaper Genie II EliteÂ® Pail seals odor into the pail and out of your nursery unlike an ordinary trash can. Diapers only touch the disposable film, not the pail, so there is one less thing to clean. It also offers a convenient foot pedal, allowing you to hold your child and dispose of a diaper at the same time, and has Antimicrobial Protection built into the plastic to inhibit odor-Âcausing bacteria.
Keep it clean after a change: Keep soap and warm water, or where not available, antibacterial hand wipes nearby to use after changing your baby. This will help stop the spread of germs within the nursery. And place a special, separate hamper inside the nursery to use specifically for heavily soiled baby laundry, which will help prevent bacteria on this laundry from spreading. 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.
Be mindful of germs when sickness creeps in: Take special precautions within the nursery when you or the baby is sick to prevent spread of illness to other children and throughout the rest of the nursery. Disinfect nursery hot spots even more frequently than normal, including the floor, changing table and laundry hamper, and cover all coughs and sneezes and wash hands before contact with baby and when entering the nursery.
If you follow these helpful tips, you’ll find that you can decrease the amount of harmful germs that your family comes into contact with and in turn give them the healthiest environment to thrive.
Owner of An Island Life. A flight attendant and mother to 3 beautiful girls. . . living a blessed life in Hawaii.