Kids are Gross   Leave a comment

I remember eating at a restaurant with my then preschooler and watching in horror as he began tracing the walls and windowsills with his finger.  Doesn’t he know that walls are touched by other kids and never washed?  That fly feces is in the windowsill and he’s about to eat with those hands?  Perhaps even more terrifying was the realization that when he holds his sandwich, due to the tables being built for adults, the top of his sandwich brushed the bottom of the table.  Repeatedly.  But, ignorance is truly bliss.

My son, Jack. One of the worst offenders.

Fast forward to today when I read this article from Parents’ Magazine entitled The Germiest Things Your Kids Touch.  It is definitely not for the faint of heart.  “Kids always have the most fecal bacteria on their hands when they return from the playground,” it says.  It reminds me of one my friend’s favorite quotes, which she actually credits me for: “Kids are gross.”

It also reminds me of one of my mother’s favorite commands,  “Go swim!”   Not only did that get us kids out of her hair, of course,  she believed the chlorine was antiseptic and good for us.  But, guess what?  Not only does chlorine NOT kill all germs,  it kills some of the most pesky painfully slowly.  So, yes, the kid still needs a bath when he gets out of the pool.  But, it’s mostly to wash the chlorine itself off.  Chlorine is not only  toxic but absorbed through the skin (and, if you’re my son, consumed in gulps.  Not really much I can do about that…)  In fact, a bath before a swim is really a good idea, too.  I hate to say it, but your swim teacher was right about that.  The oils, lotions, germs, and products in our hair and on our skin cause the pool to need more chlorine.  The “greenest” option is a shower before you get in to reduce the need for chemicals.

Are you bathing your kid in Purell yet?  Well, stop.  The main ingredient in the stuff is, of course, alcohol.  But, it’s full of artificial fragrances and other questionable ingredients I would steer clear of.   CleanWell  makes a natural, thyme based sanitizer that works without all the gross stuff.  (You can, of course, find it at Amazon.)  The downside is that it is quite expensive compared to traditional hand sanitizers, and it’s still not as green as it could be.  That’s because it comes in a little plastic container.

Your greenest option is to buy little squirt or spray bottles (try the travel supplies section at Target) that you will refill with your own sanitizer.  This recipe uses “thieves oil” and its physician creator believes it may be superior to alcohol based sanitizers because some germs are actually developing a resistance to them.

If you’re reading this, you survived childhood even though you were thoroughly disgusting.  Your kids will, too.  Now, go throw them in the tub.

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Posted July 8, 2011 by wellmaid in Uncategorized

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