Danger! Harmful Bacteria May Linger on Baby's Toys, Books, And Crib

So you disinfect your baby's bottles.  Buy his clothes only from manufacturers who use only natural fabrics and processes.  And, of course, pin only cloth diapers, never Pampers, on his bottom.

But did you know your baby is still at high risk?  According to newswise.com, the bacteria that causes strep throat, ear infections and other serious illnesses lingers on books, toys, even the crib.

A new study has found that these germs "do persist on surfaces for far longer than has been appreciated," and researchers suggest that additional precautions might need to be taken, "especially in settings such as schools, daycare centers and hospitals."

And even your home.

“These findings should make us more cautious about bacteria in the environment since (the studies) change our ideas about how these particular bacteria are spread,” newswise.com quotes senior author Anders Hakansson, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

The study found that bacteria can "survive well on various surfaces, including hands, and potentially spread between individuals” for long periods of time.

Alarmingly, in the day care center investigated, "Four out of five stuffed toys tested positive for S. pneumonaie (a cause of ear infections) and several surfaces, such as cribs, tested positive for S. pyogenes (strep throat), even after being cleaned. The testing was done just prior to the center opening in the morning so it had been many hours since the last human contact," the Web site notes.

“Bacterial colonization doesn’t, by itself, cause infection but it’s a necessary first step if an infection is going to become established in a human host,” Hakansson explains at newswise.com. “Children, the elderly and others with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to these infections.”

Experiments found that biofilm (a group of microorganisms in which cells stick to each other on a surface) survived for hours on human hands and persisted on books and soft and hard toys and surfaces in a daycare center, in some cases, even after being well-cleaned.

“Commonly handled objects that are contaminated with these biofilm bacteria could act as reservoirs of bacteria for hours, weeks or months, spreading potential infections to individuals who come in contact with them,” concludes Hakansson. 

So what should you do? Wipe down all toys and books -- even the crib -- with antibacterial sprayor wipe, and hope for the best! 


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