The Water Quality and Health Council is an independent,
multidisciplinary group sponsored by the Chlorine Chemistry Council. Its mission is to promote science based practices and policies to enhance water quality and health by advising industry, health professionals, policy makers and the public.

December 21, 1999


Janet F. Flynn, (703) 741-5827
Ralph Posner, (202) 452-9425

Children's Health and Hygiene: Tips for New Parents

ARLINGTON, VA - For new parents, bringing home a baby is an exciting experience. But parents also may feel overwhelmed from the responsibilities and challenges associated with childcare. Regular visits to a pediatrician, who will monitor your child's development and give a series of immunizations, are essential. At home, it also is important to protect against infections by fighting the germs that spread diseases. Keeping your child's surroundings clean will keep the entire family healthy.

Germs, viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi are everywhere around the house. They are on your hands, in the air, in food and, especially, in bathrooms and kitchens. Children's furniture and equipment are not immune either. Some of the more common germs that often affect children's health include rotavirus and rhinovirus (common cold), and several bacteria: E. coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureas and Campylobacter. Most cause symptoms of fever, vomiting and diarrhea. They are usually and easily spread through hand-to-face (mouth, nose, eyes) contact as a result of contaminated food, poor hygiene or improper hand washing. A few simple clean-up steps can eliminate many of these problems.

In an effort to promote proper hygiene, the Public Health Advisory Board would like to offer your readers important tips to assist parents in providing their babies with a clean, healthy home environment. For more information or to arrange an interview with the Public Health Advisory Board, please contact Ralph Posner at (202) 452-9425.


1. Wash hands thoroughly and often with hot water and soap for 15 seconds; rinse and dry with a clean towel.

  • In particular, be sure to wash hands before and after preparing food or baby bottles, and after handling diapers, using the bathroom, touching pets, sneezing or coughing.
  • 2. Clean and sanitize surfaces with a homemade cleaning solution (mix one teaspoon of chlorine bleach with one quart of water in a spray bottle. For larger jobs, mix ¾-cup chlorine bleach with one gallon of water; spray or wipe on).

  • Periodically wipe, rinse and dry telephones, light switches, faucet handles, countertops and doorknobs. Frequently sanitize baby furniture, equipment and toys - diaper-changing table, crib mattress and rails, highchairs, strollers, pacifiers and teething rings.
  • Soak and then wash cloth diapers with detergent and bleach (follow manufacturers' directions).
  • 3. Take care with food preparation and storage

  • Do not serve unpasteurized milk, cheese, juice or raw eggs.
  • Wash fresh fruits and vegetables with cold water.
  • Cook foods thoroughly to recommended temperatures and promptly store in refrigerator or freezer.
  • References
    American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Consumers League, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, The Nemours Foundation, KidSource OnLine


    The Public Health Advisory Board was established in 1992 to advise the Chlorine Chemistry Division of the American Chemistry Council. The eight members of the Board are experts in the fields of public health, toxicology, treatment, microbiology and other scientific disciplines, and consumer affairs.

    The Chlorine Chemistry Division of the American Chemistry Council is comprised of manufacturers and users of chlorine and chlorine-based products.


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