FQ Expert

Why Sterilise? Keeping the Germs At Bay This Winter

Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

During the early stages of your baby’s life, it’s so important to keep them protected from germs at home and while out and about.

With so little information out there on sterilising your environment and tackling unfriendly bacteria, new parents can often find themselves left in the dark. Here are a few simple tips and guidelines from Milton on how to keep your little ones protected.

Wash hands frequently – yours and your children’s

WHY? Washing hands correctly is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. The average hand contains about 150 different species of bacteria, which are easily transferred to other parts of the body and other people through day-to-day contact.

HOW? Wash hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water and dry well with a clean towel. Make sure to wash hands:

– Before and after eating, handling food or feeding your baby

– After using the toilet, changing nappies or helping your child use the toilet

– After helping your child wipe his nose or mouth

– After travelling on public transport

– Before & after giving medicine to your child

– After touching the bin or rubbish

– After touching a pet or other animal

In the absence of running water and soap, use an alcohol-based hand gel. Put on enough so it takes at least 30 seconds to dry.

Clean & disinfect frequently touched surfaces

WHY? Surfaces can harbour more than 100,000 bacteria per square inch. Some viruses and bacteria can live on surfaces anywhere from a few minutes up to several months.

HOW? Use an antibacterial surface spray (or handy wipes) on a daily basis to clean surfaces and kill germs. As well as cleaning kitchen surfaces, it’s also a good idea to clean doorknobs, handles and switches. Something like Milton’s Antibacterial Surface Spray and Antibacterial Surface wipes are ideal for disinfecting all surfaces in the home, including worktops, the bathroom, baby’s changing mat, bath and highchair. They kill 99.9% of germs including bacteria and fungi and are bleach-free.  

Sterilise all baby feeding equipment

WHY? Babies have fragile immune systems, especially in the first year of their lives. This means that they are more susceptible to catching germs. Sterilising baby’s feeding equipment is important, as washing only removes some of the germs. Sterilising kills germs, including fungi, bacteria and viruses.

HOW? There are 2 ways. 1) Steam (using an electric steriliser or in the microwave). 2) The Milton Cold Water Method – which involves using cold tap water and either sterilising tablets or sterilising fluid. For a step-by-step guide on how to sterilise, watch the following video:

WHAT? Bottles and teats, also soothers, teethers, plastic toys and weaning equipment (spoons, cups, bowls) in fact anything that goes in baby’s mouth.

WHAT IF MY BABY IS BREASTFED? Although you may not be sterilising bottles, it’s a good idea to sterilise breast-pump parts and nipple shields too. This is because the mixture of milk (whether from the breast or formula) with baby’s saliva creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.

HOW LONG SHOULD I STERILISE FOR? Although by the age of one babies generally have a stronger immune system, it is still not as well developed as an adults. This is why Milton recommend sterilising right up until your baby’s first birthday

Travel smart

WHY? Infectious diseases can easily be picked up while travelling, whether by public transport or in your own car. That’s why it’s important to keep the risk of catching and spreading of germs to a minimum.

HOW? Use an antibacterial hand gel before and after using public transport. Wash your hands regularly and as soon after travelling as you can (you’d be surprised at the number of germs on a forecourt petrol pump!)

WHAT ELSE? Take care particularly when traveling to developing countries. If your travel destination is one where water is questionable, make sure to use a safe water source such as bottled water and sterilise using fluid or tablets.

Sterilise baby’s soothers too

WHY? In a recent study we did on the cleanliness of soothers, we found out almost all soothers that were being using were contaminated with harmful bacteria of some kind. Even areas that look clean can still be covered with germs. This is why it’s important to sterilise soothers regularly, especially if they have been dropped – don’t forget bacteria can contaminate items that are left on the floor for even an instant!

HOW? Try using Milton’s Mini Portable Soother Steriliser – a totally unique and practical way to safely sterilise your baby’s soothers whether you are at home or out and about. The ball-shaped device is really easy to use, and cleans and sterilises in 15 minutes. 

WHAT ELSE? If your baby has been ill, consider replacing all of their soothers with new ones. Make sure you change your baby’s soother at least every three months!