Safe Hand Washing
In the first days, weeks, and months of your baby’s life you are trying to protect them from the germs around them in the world, while they build antibodies and strengthen their immune system. The easiest way to prevent germs spreading, specifically infectious illnesss and disease, is by proper hand washing. Whether or not you are interacting with a baby, it’s good practice to wash your hands frequently, but especially if you are going to be holding, feeding or changing a baby, hand washing is a must.
While most people probably feel as though hand washing is second nature and they don’t need to think about it too much, there is a right and and wrong way to do it. Especially when it comes to preventing the spread of germs and illness. According to the CDC you should always wash your hands:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
In order to properly wash your hands:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20-30 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Be careful when it comes to hand sanitizer and antibacterial soaps
Hand sanitizers have become increasingly popular and are often used as a substitute for washing your hands. While it is a convenient product to have in your bag when there isn’t the option to wash your hands, they should be used with caution. As should antibacterial soaps. Overuse of hand sanitizer and antibacterial soaps may increase bacterial resistance to infection when overused. Not to mention, the chemicals in some hand sanitizers are risky for babies if it gets in their mouths.
“Bacteria develop resistance to antibacterial agents via resistance. Because bacteria reproduce very quickly, beneficial mutations quickly spread. When people constantly use hand sanitizers, the bacteria their bodies encounter daily have many opportunities to develop mutations that resist being killed. This increases the likelihood of the bacteria becoming stronger, more difficult to kill and dangerous to people.” – The Dangers of Hand Sanitizers to a Baby
That being said, there are some great products out there and some safer less toxic hand soaps and sanitizers. Here are a few we recommend: