When it comes to dropped pacifiers or food, forget the five-minute rule: Any transfer of germs, dirt or what-have-you happens on contact. But should you freak out if a pacifier or banana hits the floor? Depends on where it’s dropped.
The reality is that germs are everywhere. If someone with a cold sneezes or coughs, the germs can land on surfaces and be spread to baby’s nose, mouth or eyes by touch.
The good news is you can protect your baby from infection by:
- Washing your own hands often
Keeping shared toys and surfaces clean with a ten percent water-and-bleach solution or other disinfectant
Using sanitizing wipes or changing pads on public surfaces – for instance, on shopping-cart handles and public changing tables
If you’re at home, a quick rinse of the food or binky to wash off lint and germs is probably all you need to do. But if the pacifier falls on the floor of a rest-stop bathroom, you might want to take it out of circulation until you can fully sanitize it by boiling it for 15 minutes.
But don’t sweat the dog slobber: Your baby can’t catch any parasites from dog toys or a quick lick on the cheek or high chair tray. If you let your pooch clean your high chair or dishes after a meal, it doesn’t hurt to rinse the baby’s tray and dishes thoroughly in warm, soapy water or in the dishwasher, though.