Reviewed by Roy Benaroch on September 13, 2012

Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Harley A. Rotbart, MD, Professor and Vice Chairman of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Children’s Hospital of Denver; author of Germ Proof Your Kids: The Complete Guide to Protecting (without Overprotecting) Your Family from Infections Gregory L. Burke, PA Pediatric Physician’s Assistant, Assistant Professor, Emory University School of Medicine

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Video Transcript

Christine: Well here's our playroom and this is the room we have a really hard time keeping clean…

Narrator: Greg Burke, a pediatric physician's assistant, is offering a few tips to Christine Curtin to help her better protect her family from infectious germs…

Greg L. Burke, PA: Toddlers are always going to put things into their mouths …they are going to expose themselves to all of the germs in their surroundings …

Narrator: Young children tend to be very touchy-feely sorts of folks. And because they often play in groups this creates a major challenge when you're trying to keep nasty germs at bay.

Greg L. Burke, PA: Just toss them straight into the washing machine

Narrator: Toys, for instance, can become transfer stations for infection. Especially items that sick children have touched, which should be separated and washed with hot water and soap as soon as possible…

Greg L. Burke, PA: …Drop it in a lingerie bag put it in the dishwasher or you could put it through the washing machine Anything that they share is potentially a source of passing infectious diseases from one child to another.

Harley A. Rotbart, MD : We can't protect everybody from everything. And so getting sick is part of life. The goal of germ-proofing is to minimize the impact that those sicknesses have, the duration that those sickness have, and the number of sicknesses the kids get.

Greg L. Burke, PA: You know the bathroom is another area where you know kids and cleanliness really comes into focus….

Narrator: Germs tend to thrive in warm moist environments…And when a contagious illness is an issue; a daily cleaning is not over-the-top for the bathroom… And instilling good hygiene habits at an early age, like washing up after going to the bathroom, can sharply decrease the potential for infection…

Greg L. Burke, PA: By singing happy birthday two times that generally puts you about 15 or 20 seconds…

Narrator: There's no way to block every germ encounter, but you can be strategic about when to intercede. Bedtime routine is a good opportunity to tilt the odds in your favor…

Harley A. Rotbart, MD : And bedtime is a time when there are lots of eye-rubbing, lots of nose-picking, and lots of thumb-sucking, that's a good moment to wash your hands before kids get into bed.

Narrator: For WebMD, I'm Damon Meharg.