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Secrets to Healthy Babies & Toddlers in a Germy World

It’s a harsh, eye-opening and alarming truth for young parents: It’s a germy world and your babies and toddlers are enthusiastically trying to explore every bacteria-soaked inch of it every day.

Try as you might, it’s Mission: Impossible to try to protect your babies and toddlers from all germs and bacteria. Ever hear the story the three-year-old told about germs at daycare?

He spread it all over.

Jokes aside, toddlers by nature are drippy, drooling, germ magnets who love to try to eat anything in sight no matter how distasteful (ever see a six-month old go straight for the wrapping paper instead of the presents at Christmas?)

And that’s not exactly a bad thing, according to Elizabeth Scott, Ph.D., co-director of the Simmons Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community in Boston.

“Humans actually need exposure to good germs early in life to prime our immune system so it develops properly,” Scott told Parent.com.

To keep your baby (not to mention the rest of your family) healthy, it’s important to keep your jolly little adventurer’s world free of dangerous germs.

Buy those disinfectant wipes in bulk and focus on these germ-ridden facts of babies and toddlers. They will guide you on smart germ precautions and help you keep your pride and joy safe from the microscopic dangers of youth.

Babies were born to put everything in their mouths

Toys, balls, books, keys, sippy cups, and even the family dog Fido’s biscuits. Toddlers are wired to put almost everything in their mouths.

“In the first few years of life, babies put everything into their mouths,” Robert W. Frenck Jr., MD., and professor of pediatrics at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, told WebMD.com, “absolutely everything.”

It’s purely natural for parents to be concerned on days when your toddler attempts to eat the entire universe, whether paper, plastic or wood. Some of these germ havens can strengthen your child’s immune system, and most babies’ immune systems can handle the hundreds of attacks from antigens they face in an average day.

Also, germ exposure is just a fact of growing up.

“Germs are unavoidable,” Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, and author of Molly Calls” Dr. Tanya Answers Parents’ Top 101 Questions About Babies and Toddlers, told WebMD.com. “They’re everywhere, and part of being an infant and toddler is being exposed to lots and lots of them.”

Plus, germs are what builds a child’s immune system. Once a body is infected by a specific virus, the body learns how to make antibodies to fight it. The next time the virus attacks, the body can fight it off without succumbing to an infection.

“The timing of initial exposure may be critical,” Robert Woods of John Hopkins Children’s Center said in a news release. “Not only are many of our immune responses shaped in the first year of life, but also that certain bacteria and allergens play an important role in stimulating and training the immune system to behave a certain way.”

You never want to purposely expose your child to an infection, but keeping your child in a germ-free cocoon is not allowing your baby to be a baby.

Clean Hands Kill Germs

The No. 1 Law of Germ Control is extra true for toddlers. The most common way to catch an infectious disease is by touch. Babies pick up germs on their hands then quickly transfer and transport them to their eyes and mouth.

Thoroughly washing your baby or toddler’s hands several times throughout the day can limit their exposure to harmful bacteria. Using soap and water, plus hand sanitizer like B4 Brands’ Avant Original Fragrance-Free Instant Hand Sanitizer help greatly reduce the chances of your child getting sick.

Vaccinate, Vaccinate, Vaccinate

Shielding your children against serious germ-based illnesses isn’t all about soap, water and hand sanitizer.

Trust your doctor and medicine: No measure protects young children better from illness than regularly scheduled vaccinations.

A Clean House Is A Healthy House

As most mothers know, the cleaner the house, the healthier the baby.

Household cleaning with soap and water wipes away germs from surfaces. Cleaning with bleach terminates germs on contact. The Centers for Disease Control recommends both methods for normal household cleaning.

The two most high baby traffic places you definitely want to call Mr. Clean in for: The Kitchen and The Bathroom.

Contact Control

Babies are most susceptible to germ-born illnesses when they are extremely young: Under three months. It’s best to keep them away from large crowds, but that doesn’t mean parents need to keep their babies under house arrest. Going for walks won’t harm the baby and will definitely help mothers battling cabin fever.

Going out with Wipes

When eating out, shopping at the mall or picking up groceries at the supermarket, remember to pack some antiseptic wipes and some Avant Hand Sanitizer. They’re ideal germ protection.

Keeping babies and toddlers safe from harmful germ-based infections and illnesses doesn’t require enclosing them in a plastic bubble, just smart parental common sense, and a lot of smart baby love.

photo credit: October park day via photopin (license)

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