We all want our baby’s toys to be clean and safe: but the very act of trying to get rid of everyday germs could make your child’s toys more potentially harmful to their health than ordinary dirt.
Read on to find out how to keep your baby safe, healthy, and happy.
Using harsh chemicals and some everyday cleaning products can cause a wide range of negative effects, both immediate and long-lasting, on your child. These range from actual damage of the mouth and throat with the strongest of substances, through to more insidious effects like increased risk of cancer and hormone disruptions due to chemicals that claim to be safe for contact with children.
What NOT to use
Heavily fragranced products
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health have found that many of the substances used in fragrances are toxic, but companies aren’t required to state their contents on the label as they are considered ‘trade secrets.’
Neat or highly concentrated bleach
Some sources of advice suggest that bleach, when properly diluted and left to evaporate after application, can be used for disinfecting babies’ toys. However, you need to be very sure you know the rules before trying this as any remaining bleach could cause severe damage.
Safe alternatives for cleaning your child’s toys
Choose alternatives for cleaning your baby’s toys safely without exposing them to harmful substances.
For babies under six months, the safest way to avoid illness, infection, and injury is to choose toys that can be disinfected with boiling water, similar to preparing a bottle for a milk feed. You can do this in your bottle sterilizer or by boiling for ten minutes in a large pot of water and by choosing toys that are meant to be cleaned this way to avoid damage.
Fabric toys should be washed in the washing machine and air dried – check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you don’t ruin the toy.
For older children whose immune systems are more developed, less drastic measures are required.
Small hard plastic toys can be placed on the top level of a clean dishwasher for a thorough clean, or immersed and scrubbed in warm, toxin-free soapy water and rinsed thoroughly.
Stick to environmentally friendly cleaning products and disinfectants that include no artificial chemicals. If in doubt, a solution of water, lemon juice, and plain vinegar applied after a thorough cleaning in hot soapy water and left to dry is a good, natural solution.