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Sanitizing Kids Toys and Play Areas

March 3, 2024
Sanitizing Kids Toys and Play Areas

Keeping children healthy is a top priority for all parents. An important part of this is ensuring kids toys and play areas are properly sanitized. Here is an in-depth guide on best practices for sanitizing kids toys and play spaces.

Why Sanitize Toys and Play Areas?

Kids put toys in their mouths and touch play areas frequently. This exposes them to lots of germs which can lead to illness. Sanitizing kills germs, reducing the risk of your child getting sick. Some key reasons to sanitize kids toys and play areas include:

  • Prevent spread of illnesses – Rhinovirus, rotavirus, influenza and other bugs spread quickly between young children. Proper sanitation helps stop transmission.

  • Avoid infections – Bacteria like Salmonella or E. coli on toys can cause serious infections if ingested.

  • Allergies and asthma – Dust mites, pet dander and pollen on surfaces can trigger allergic reactions or asthma symptoms.

  • Improve immune health – Overly sterile environments may weaken immune systems. Regular cleaning strikes a balance, removing harmful germs without eliminating all exposure.

How Often Should You Sanitize Toys?

Sanitizing schedules depend on the toy type and usage frequency. Some general guidelines include:

  • High touch toys – Clean daily. This includes play kitchens, balls, action figures, stuffed animals, shape sorters.

  • Bath toys – Sanitize 3x per week. Allow to air dry between uses.

  • Ride on toys – Wipe down high touch areas daily. Deep clean weekly.

  • Plastic toys – Sanitize weekly.

  • Wooden toys – Disinfect monthly with diluted vinegar.

  • Electronics – Wipe with disinfectant wipes weekly, avoiding batteries and cables.

Increase cleaning frequency if a child is sick to avoid spreading illness. Spot clean immediately if toys are soiled.

How to Sanitize Kids Toys

Use these methods to effectively sanitize different toy types:

Hard Plastic Toys

  • Method: Mix 5 tablespoons bleach per 1 gallon of water. Submerge and soak toys for 5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Air dry.

  • Alternative: Use 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes.

Stuffed Animals

  • Check labels first. Follow washing instructions if machine washable.

  • To disinfect, spray with diluted bleach or rubbing alcohol. Let sit 10 minutes before air drying.

Wooden Toys

  • Wipe with damp cloth dipped in diluted vinegar solution.

  • Do not soak or use harsh chemicals which may damage wood.

Electronic Toys

  • Wipe exterior surfaces with 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes. Avoid cables, batteries.

  • Do not submerge in liquid as this can damage electronics.

  • Wash hands before and after play to reduce spread of germs.

Bath Toys

  • Squeeze and rinse with hot water to remove buildup.

  • Soak in 1:10 bleach solution for 5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.

  • Allow to fully air dry before next use.

Sanitizing Play Areas

High traffic play areas also need regular disinfection. Here are tips for common play spaces:

Play Mats and Playpens

  • Spot clean messes immediately.

  • Weekly: Wash with warm soapy water. Rinse. Spray with disinfectant and wipe down.

  • Monthly: Sanitize using diluted bleach or vinegar solution. Rinse thoroughly.

Indoor Play Places

  • Daily: Pick up toys, sweep and take out trash.

  • Weekly: Vacuum floors, wipe down surfaces. Mop tile or wash rugs.

  • Monthly: Shampoo carpets and rugs. Wipe walls and baseboards.

Outdoor Play Equipment

  • Hose down daily to remove dirt, debris and bodily fluids.

  • Monthly: Scrub thoroughly using an outdoor disinfectant cleaner. Rinse well.

Wash hands before and after play. Supervise kids eating to prevent ingestion of contaminants.

Safe Sanitization Practices

Follow these tips for safe sanitizing:

  • Use correct ratios when diluting cleaners.

  • Rinse all toys thoroughly after sanitizing to remove residual chemicals.

  • Read labels and follow instructions carefully.

  • Allow toys to fully air dry before giving back to children.

  • Store chemicals and cleaners out of children’s reach.

  • Choose fragrance-free and non-toxic products when possible.

Regular cleaning takes a bit more time but is vital for kids health. Set reminders to maintain a schedule. Make sanitizing toys part of your daily routine.

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