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My son Saxon recently had a friend over who hacked, sneezed, and coughed his way through their playdate. After his pal left, I dumped the enormous basket of Legos the boys had been playing with into the tub and scrubbed every last block in hopes that Saxon wouldn't get sick. The Bionicle bubble bath took close to an hour, but at least I could sleep that night. Was I over-the-top in my cleaning frenzy? Little bit.
Although experts agree that teaching your children healthy habits can help keep sickness at bay, parents often go too far. "Germs are everywhere, and we can't, and shouldn't, try to keep our kids completely germ-free," says Parents advisor Harley A. Rotbart, M.D., vice chairman of pediatrics at Children's Hospital Colorado, in Aurora, and the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in Denver. "But commonsense approaches can help us cut our kids' annual sick days in half and keep families healthier." We visited six germy family hot spots and determined the best way to stay healthy.