Do you really need to wash your hands before handling a baby?

The answer to that question is “Yes.”

With the recent outbreak of H1n1 you might be seeing signs about how to protect yourself from the virus.  Do you know what the number one way to protect yourself is? Yep, you guessed it… washing your hands.

I’m not a freak about cleanliness, but it really is important for people to wash their hands before they touch a baby under 1 year of age.  Newborns and small infants have underdeveloped immune systems.  So what could be a slight cold and nuisance to adults could really make a young baby sick, maybe even to the point where they have to go to intensive care.  Who wants to be responsible for that happening?

As a parent, our LO’s depend on us and it is our job to keep our babies healthy and safe.  Good hand washing habits is the best way to keep illnesses such as meningitis, bronchiolitis, influenza, hepatitis A and infectious diarrhea away.

So the next time a friend or especially a stranger reaches out to touch your child, don’t feel bad about yelling out to stop them before their hands reach your LO.  Its a good idea to keep hand sanitizer in your diaper bag, just in case.  However, be aware that there is a risk in using it on children under the age of 5.

Hand sanitizer has a really high concentrate of alcohol, 60%, that’s higher than some of the drinks I’ve had in my life.  Adults can metabolize it correctly because our bodies are larger.  Kids under the age of 5 have smaller bodies so they can be affected by it so use it sparingly. If its between possibly getting the flu or temporarily having a little bit of alcohol in the system, personally, I’d opt for my child to use the hand sanitizer.  Of course, that’s a personal choice best left up to the parent to decide.

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