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Sanitizing Toys


In child care centers, staff are required to sanitize toys in order to help curb the spread of illness. Most centers must sanitize infant toys daily while toddler toys are cleaned weekly.

At home, you may not do this, but it's a good idea to help keep illnesses like a cold or thrush from coming back and to protect other children who may come to play.

There are commercial sanitizing mixes sold commercially, but an inexpensive way to clean toys is to soak them in a solution of bleach and water. Use 1 tablespoon of bleach for every gallon of water. Drain, rinse and allow toys to air dry overnight in the sink.

If you have just a few toys, you can also just boil them for a few minutes in a pot on the stove, just as if you were sanitizing bottles.

The dishwasher is another great place to clean toys. While most parents lower the water temperature on their hot water tank, as long as the temperature is above 120°F, it will safely clean toys and dishes. Just be sure to place plastic toys in the top rack.

Remember, too, to be careful with fabric toys (which bleach can ruin) or toys with electronics (such as noisemakers or lights). Fabric toys can be washed with simple soap and water and you can spray Lysol or another disenfectant on a cloth and wipe down toys with electronics.

Don't forget other places where your child places his mouth, either- such as crib rails and climbing toys or other large toys.

Do you have a tip you'd like to share with other parents? You can send your tips to me at babyparenting@aboutguide.com and I will publish them here on the site.

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