Cleaning Tips As Taught by the Department of Health and Human Services

Parents have always asked me a lot of questions about how to keep their baby safe. As a teacher, not only do I personally think it is important to manage the health and care of children, I’m required by law to do so in my classroom. Luckily, I’m given a guide by the Department of Human Services. Parents, however, are not given a guide; which makes it difficult to learn how to do such things as: how to clean and disinfect toys and how often should it be done, and how to disinfect your home for children.

There is no perfect way to keep your kids healthy. That is the hard part about being a parent; understanding that kids get sick, and they get sick often. While you can reduce the exposure to some illnesses, most kids will get sick from being in contact with other people. Here are the ways that teachers and schools keep children’s contact with sickness to a minimum:

According to the Department of Health and Human Services there are different bleach solutions to use on toys and areas. There are different solutions for each type of toy, furniture and food areas. It is also important to note the amount of bleach quality (sodium hypochlorite) is different for each bottle of bleach. Read the label to be sure of the recommended mixtures.

Important fact: Never mix bleach with ammonia. The fumes, when combined, are extremely toxic.

For a spray solution use a 1/4 teaspoon bleach to 1 quart (9.5 deciliters) of water.

For use on items (not toys) that have been in contact with blood, feces or urine (any bodily fluids) use a mixture of 1 tablespoon to 1 quart (9.5 deciliters).

For use with toys that babies and toddlers tend to put in their mouths, use a concentration of 1 teaspoon bleach/Gal (3.8 deciliters) of water.

1.) Every toy needs to be cleaned differently. Cloth toys and hard toys are different, as well as cloth toys with batteries.

a) Cloth toys, without batteries, can be washed in machines and tumbled dry on low heat. It’s best not to leave wet toys out, as they will attract bacteria.

b) Plastic and harder toys can be washed with a diluted bleach solution. Either spray and let dry or wipe with a cloth.

c) Cloth toys with batteries can be sprayed with a diluted bleach solution and sun dried.

d) Doll clothes and other cloth items can be washed in a machine using a temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Always allow items cleaned with bleach to fully dry before coming into contact with children. While most small concentrations of bleach are not incredibly harmful, they can still sometimes burn the skin or cause a irritation. If swallowed follow the instructions on the containers. Always keep bleach out of reach of children or in child safe cabinets.

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