As Your Baby Becomes Mobile
It's harder to ensure that everything he encounters is clean. The good news: "He's becoming more acclimatized to different germs, and his immune system can handle them better," says Dr. Tierno, author of The Secret Life of Germs. But he still needs some TLC.
Pals and playthings
Your child has plenty of both, which means he's also exposed to their germs.
- If another child uses your changing table, replace the cover before and afterward.
- Discourage kids from sharing foods.
- Periodically wash off your child's toys. Many plastic toys can be cleaned with a 2 percent hydrogen-peroxide solution or with water and soap--read their labeling. For particularly dirty toys, you may need to use a bleach-and-water solution. Check the labeling on plush animals and other toys before washing.
- Clean the handlebars on walkers and other riding toys at least weekly with an antiseptic spray or alcohol wipes. Wipe down the handles on supermarket shopping carts and kiddie rides, too, before putting your child in them.
- Serve only pasteurized juices and dairy products.
- If you know your child can't finish a jar of baby food in one sitting, pour the portion you'll need into a bowl and store the rest. Never feed from the jar and then refrigerate what's left--bacteria can grow quickly, since the food is contaminated with saliva.
- Don't let your child eat food that's fallen to the ground.
- Ask your doctor when it's safe to give your child water from your faucet. If you're not sure how clean your tap water is, boil it for ten minutes, then cool it before serving.
- Never serve any product that's past its expiration date.
- Be sure to serve only well-done meat to your child.