In the first year of life, a child is more exposed than an adult to infections which, in some cases, can also be caused by the home environment. A baby’s immune system, i.e. its defence against attacks by bacteria, viruses, fungi and other pathogens, takes about a year to develop. It is therefore necessary that the environment in which the child lives is kept clean, because hygiene is the first barrier against infectious agents. It is important that parents also contribute, with their behavior, to keep the environment of the house hygienically safe: simple habits such as washing your hands as soon as you return home, each use their own towel, avoid putting in the mouth the baby’s dummy or cutlery that uses to eat food.
The kitchen and the bathroom
Above all, the kitchen and bathroom require special attention because the heat and humidity that always characterize these rooms, combined with an easier presence of germs (dirty linen waiting to be washed, fruits and vegetables just purchased and yet to be washed) are an easy breeding ground for the development of different infectious agents.
Every day, a cloth dampened with water should be wiped over the sink, worktop, tiles and sanitary ware. Then use the specific detergents, leaving them to work for at least 30 minutes and then rinse thoroughly with a sponge and, as far as the floor is concerned, with a wet cloth. Finally, all surfaces should be dried with a clean cloth. For special cleaning (for example when a sick person lives in the house) the best detergents and antimicrobials are certainly solutions based on sodium hypochlorite such as bleach or the common and cheap varichina (to be diluted at a rate of 30 ml per liter of water), but you must have the warning not to use these products on metal surfaces or even together with acids or products that contain them (such as descalers for toilets) because they can develop toxic vapors.
Denatured alcohol also has a good disinfectant action; however, as it evaporates rapidly, it is more suitable for disinfecting small objects such as tweezers or scissors. Sponge pads and different types of cleaning cloths should be renewed very frequently and kept quite separate in their intended use between kitchens and bathrooms. Air exchange Another important habit is air exchange because, indoors, it can be a vehicle for the transmission of pathogenic germs of contagious diseases (such as flu or cold) contained in the tiny droplets of saliva emitted by a sick person with coughing, sneezing or even in the course of a normal conversation. In the rooms of the house the air must be changed several times a day, even in winter. As soon as possible, especially when the summer starts and the problem of cold no longer exists, it is good to let in the sun, which, with its ultraviolet rays, is able to sterilize the air. If you use air conditioners, remember to periodically clean, according to the manufacturer’s instructions, the filter that, otherwise, could spread pathogens of various types in the environment.
The child’s room
The baby’s room needs to be cleaned every day as it is the room in the house where he spends most of his time. The cleaning should be done carefully and not in the presence of the child, because the dust that rises during the various operations could annoy him. The furniture should be dusted every day with a clean electrostatic cloth that holds the dust without raising it in the room and the vacuum should be regularly passed on the floor. Every other day it is advisable to wipe a clean cloth dampened with a little alcohol on the floor, putting it well in the corners and under the bed, then washing the floor with a specific detergent. The mirrors and windows should always be kept clean, dusting them every day with a soft cloth, because they irresistibly attract the child who easily puts his hands and mouth on them: therefore, strong detergents should be avoided, using neutral detergents at least once a week, then rinsing everything thoroughly and drying very well. The changing table and the bathtub The changing table mattress should be wiped with a cloth moistened with alcohol each time you change the diaper, so as to eliminate any residue of dirt.
Then, every day, it is necessary to clean the support (usually made of plastic or wood) using products specific to the material of which it is composed. After each bath, rinse the tray with warm water, pouring a moderate amount of a mild disinfectant, leaving it to act for half an hour. Then pass a moistened sponge and rinse thoroughly with hot water. Let it air dry for a few minutes and then wipe a dry cloth on the inside of the surface to remove traces of wetness because the residual moisture could promote the nesting and proliferation of pathogens. The tray should then be placed upside down until the next time, in order to protect it from dust, possibly placed in a closet.