Keeping Baby Healthy: Outside the House
Taking your baby out poses its own specific germ risks. Here are some things to consider.
Controlling contact. When your child is very small -- say under three months -- experts say that it’s best to keep them away from crowds. But parents sometimes misunderstand, thinking that they’re supposed to keep their newborns in the house 24/7. That’s not the case.
“Going out for a walk really won’t harm the baby, and it will probably do the parents some good,” says Frenck. Just try to stay away from hordes of people. When people come to touch your baby, dissuade them.
- Eating out. When you’re dining out, bring along some antiseptic wipes. Wiping off the highchair and table are good ideas, Altmann says. “I personally don’t like seeing children eat their food right off the table at a restaurant,” says Jana. One option is to bring along your own place mat, either disposable or reusable.
Other precautions. When you’re out -- at the mall, or in a supermarket -- there’s no question that your kids will pick up some germs on their hands. But some precautions that will help keep your baby healthy are pretty easy. Wiping down the grocery cart seat with an antiseptic wipe is simple and could help, for example.
But the world is too big to sterilize. You can’t wipe down the railing of an escalator, or a play structure, or the floor of the mall, or each particle of sand in a sandbox. So you just go back to the basics: washing hands or rubbing them with a hand sanitizer. There’s not much else you can do.
Keeping Baby Healthy: Striking a Balance
The key to keeping your baby healthy is to take some basic precautions -- like hand washing and some cleaning or disinfecting -- and then to go with your instincts. If you want to be extra cautious about germs, that’s fine. But you don’t have to.
Certainly, don’t beat yourself up when you turn your back for a second and then find your baby with a mouthful of dirt, or another kid’s lollipop, or something obviously foul that you just can’t identify. It happens.
“You could put your kids in a plastic bubble and they’d never get sick,” Jana tells WebMD. “But if you want to live in the real world, and enjoy it, you have to put up with germs and the occasional illness.”