Why disinfect baby products during COVID-19?
How to safely sanitize baby items during this pandemic?
How often to disinfect baby gears?
COVID-19 pandemic has made us parents very alert. The day I heard of COVID-19 pandemic in news, I started to make sure that the things my child uses are thoroughly disinfected.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while children are at lower risk for COVID-19 transmission, babies can pick up the infection from infected toys and surfaces. Knowing that the virus can survive on different surfaces for different time periods, many fears are taking rounds in the minds of parents- starting from cleaning to disinfecting different items.
As the babies love exploring things, especially by touching them, it becomes necessary for the parents to keep the surroundings and the baby products germs-free. And here we are, to give you a helping hand and a few tips to keep the baby products disinfected.
Before starting with the tips to disinfect the baby gear, let’s understand the difference between cleaning and disinfecting.
Is cleaning the same as disinfecting?
Both cleaning and disinfecting are equally important to keep the infections at bay. But there is a huge difference between cleaning and disinfecting.
Cleaning removes the dirt, dust, impurities, and germs from the objects using soap and water. Disinfecting kills the germs through the use of different chemicals.
It is always recommended to clean first and then disinfect to make sure the items or surfaces are thoroughly cleaned and germ-free.
How often should we disinfect baby products during Covid-19?
Understanding the difference between cleaning and disinfecting, few parents may get cautious about the frequency of disinfecting the baby gear/items. It depends on the use of the items. The more often we use the items, the more often we need to disinfect them. For example,
- If something is visibly dirty, we need to clean and disinfect it.
- Those toys that are used regularly, sanitize, and disinfect them daily.
- Disinfect baby feeding items before and after every use.
- Baby products like pacifiers, teething items, etc that are mouthed often should be disinfected before and after every use and if they fall on the floor.
How to disinfect baby products during COVID-19 ?
Now, let’s see how to sanitize different baby products
♦ Baby feeding essentials
It is a practice since olden days to use the sterilized bottles for the babies. There are different ways to sterilize baby items like bottles, spoons, and cups.
- Boiling– This is the traditional and the safest way to sterilize these items. In this method, you just need to put the clean baby bottle, spoons, and cups in boiling water for five minutes. Then remove them from the water safely and let them air dry.
- Steaming– In this, the items to be sanitized are to be steamed in microwave sterilizer which is readily available in markets.
- Use of disinfectants– The chemical disinfectants available in the market in liquid or tablet form can be used as per the guidelines.
Personally, although many options are available, I would recommend going with the traditional boiling way to sterilize the baby feeding items.
Note: Before using any of these methods to sterilize any items, read the guidelines- such as microwave safe, safe to boil, etc on the baby items you are sterilizing.
♦ Plastic, metal or rubber toys
Using a baby wipe on toys doesn’t disinfect them.
Following are the ways to disinfect the baby toys:
- Soap and water– It is most convenient to use soap and water to disinfect the toys. If the toys are dishwasher safe, you can save your time and effort in doing this. After washing properly with soap, let them self-dry in sunlight.
- Bleach– Another way to clean the toys is to allow them to sit in watered down bleach solution for five minutes. You can use a bleach solution with 2 teaspoons of unscented bleach for every 16 cups of water. Then allow them to dry. Air drying makes sure that the sanitizing bleach solution evaporates off the toys and no residue remains. Please do make sure the toys are nonporous if using a bleach solution to disinfect.
- Disinfectant- You can wipe off the toys with a disinfectant to sanitize them.
In addition to these, you can even use boiling or steaming to disinfect the toys if the toys are safe to follow these ways. Also, just because the bath toys sit in the bathtub, doesn’t mean that they don’t need to be disinfected. They can accumulate germs and mold.
Plush toys, beddings, blankets, cloth books, pillowcases, and those little cute clothes are perfect to be cleaned in the washing machine. The cycles of washing and drying will clean them thoroughly.
Few items like beddings can be cleaned using warm or hot water to remove the dirt and odor of the diaper leaking or spit ups.
Note: Ensure not to use the washing machine if any of the fabric toys or objects have battery packs or electronics in them. Refer to the next section to check how to disinfect them.
Fabric gear, such as- baby bouncer, mat, or stroller seat can also be washed in the washing machine using a gentle cycle.
It is best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfecting tech-toys.
General steps to wash the electronic toys are-
- Remove the batteries.
- Wipe the surface with alcohol-based disinfectant spray. While doing this, see that the disinfectant doesn’t seep into the electronic components.
- Let them dry after wiping.
Phones and other electronic gadgets should be wiped clean with an alcohol-based disinfected wipe several times a day.
♦ Board books and wooden toys
The board books and wooden toys/ blocks cannot be submerged in liquid disinfectant. Spray the disinfectant on their surface and let them dry. You may also wipe them with sanitizer and let them dry.
♦ Paper books
As paper cannot be washed and is difficult to sanitize too, you must make sure your baby’s books or magazines are not exposed to the outside environment or where there are chances of coronavirus. If they have hardcover you can wipe them with disinfectant.
If you doubt your books have been exposed, it’s best to quarantine them for at least fourteen days before using them.
The strollers, especially their handles – are likely to get dirty and exposed very quickly. Hence, it is recommended to sanitize them more often.
The most convenient way to sanitize them is by using alcohol-based disinfectant wipes or sprays.
Disinfecting the floors is essential if you have a crawling baby at home.
The most recommended ways to clean and disinfect floors are by using a dilute bleach solution or disinfectant spray/wipes. Make it a habit to clean the play area as and when required.
♦ Breast pump
As the breast pumps are also indirectly exposed to the babies, it is also recommended to disinfect them. You can clean them using soap and water manually or in a dishwasher. Then, you can use disinfectant wipes to disinfect the breast pumps.
Note: Before using any procedure to disinfect them, read the company’s manual carefully to know what’s recommended by the manufacturers.
General tips for safety during COVID-19
Apart from following the given measures to disinfect your baby products, we must follow the general tips to follow safety measures during COVID-19.
- Wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and water.
- Wear masks whenever you are feeling unwell or while you are stepping out. Here are some tips to make your kid wear masks.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth frequently.
- Maintain social distance- at least 3 feet distance whenever you step out of your home and also while you are talking to the people coughing or sneezing, even at your home.
- Disinfect common high-touch surfaces of your home, at regular intervals.
Hope you have now got an idea about how to disinfect baby products during COVID-19.
Stay fearless, stress- free and optimistic by following all these precautionary measures. Because
“Many times, the thought of fear itself is greater than what it is we fear.”
― Idowu Koyenikan
Stay blessed and enjoy quality time with your children. Also, keep sharing your valuable suggestions and feedback with us.