My baby’s pacifier is six times dirtier than a toilet

Ohhh you poor second child.

I guess it’s a good thing and a bad thing I worry less about you. It means I’m a more confident mother, but also one who doesn’t buy those pacifier wipes because if it falls on the floor, it’s not going to kill you.

Then, one day my producer at work says “Let’s test kids items for dangerous germs!”

“I’m in!”

In fact, I’m so in, I test some of my own things because I have little kids who are dirty 80% of the time.

We had a lab test for Staphylococcus aureus, E. Coli and listeria. We gave them a pacifier, car seat cover, bath toy, sand toy, backpack and tablet.

Here’s the good news: the car seat cover came back totally clean and nothing had listeria on it.

Here’s the bad news: EVERYTHING had staph. And the bath toy and backpack both had colonies of E. Coli.

Here’s the worst news: The pacifier I found underneath the crib came back with 120 colonized units of staph. A toilet seat averages about 20 units.  You can watch that story here.

The “EW” factor is high for this, obviously. But what surprised me was the freakout some people had behind the scenes.

I went to a neighborhood park to interview parents about whether or not they were surprised. Within hours, a local mom posted on Facebook “Staph has been found at (the City) sandbox!” She wanted to warn all parents.

That prompted calls to the county health department and other parents texting me to see if I knew anything.

Here’s the thing: Staph is EVERYWHERE. You can’t avoid it.

The best information came from Pediatric Infectious Disease specialist, Dr. Frank Esper with University Hospitals. He said whether it’s just a few colonies of staph or massive amounts, it all poses a risk to get under our skin. That’s when it causes infection. Our bodies are trained to fight it off.

But if you are totally freaked about germs and don’t want your kids to get sick, don’t be afraid of bleach!

How many of us are buying all-natural products or mixing vinegar with essential oils because we want to protect our little one’s soft skin?

Dr. Esper says, if you want, you can use a touch of bleach in the bath to kill off the staph and E. Coli found on bath toys. He says it has the same effect as taking your babies into a chlorinated pool.

Obviously, to each his own here. I’m not saying bleach up your kids or constantly sanitize your house. But if it makes you feel better to know the bacteria is wiped away (for at least a few hours), at least you know advice from the experts.

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