Babies and toddlers have a knack for getting themselves dirty. Although most parents can safely wash and bathe their child, many may neglect to notice other potential hazards to their hygiene.
Sanitise your home
Use a disinfectant throughout your home, paying particular attention to your child’s play area and belongings. Bottles and dummies should also be thoroughly washed between uses. Both objects are often exposed to harmful bacteria—when left on countertops or dropped on the floor—making them a risk factor for spreading viruses and infection. The same goes for infant toys, which children often chew or bite. Bath toys are notorious breeding grounds for germs, especially those that trap water inside and allow mould to form. Squeeze out excess water from such toys after bath time, soak in a bleach and water solution and leave to dry on a rack.
Changing your baby’s nappies regularly will help to prevent nappy rash and thrush—both of which are very common in young children. Parents should wash their hands before and after nappy changes— carrying a hand sanitiser may make this easier. Changing mats should be cleaned with antibacterial wipes before laying baby down and dirty nappies and waste should be disposed of quickly and appropriately.
Other bodily maintenance
Keeping up with your infant’s bodily maintenance will help them lead a healthier and happier life. Gently remove dried mucus from around your child’s eyes with a clean, dampcloth or cotton pad. Use a new cotton pad for each eye to avoid transferring bacteria from one to the other. Clean around and behind their ears using the same method, but be cautious to avoid cleaning inside the ears. Trim your child’s nails using special baby scissors or an emery board.
As your child grows up, they will become more capable of managing their own hygiene. Instilling healthy hygiene habits from an early age will aid their personal growth and provide them with essential knowledge for the future. Make trips to the sink together and explain the process of washing hands before eating or after using the bathroom. Cover coughing and sneezing etiquette by explaining that using a tissue stops the spread of dirt and germs, which can make us sick.
This article was first published in Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh magazine. Read the digital edition, here.