Kids and germs go hand in hand — literally. Those little chubby fingers can't seem to resist touching every grimy surface in sight, which makes those products invented to keep your kid from getting sick pretty valuable to moms everywhere. Other than buy stock in tissues and cough medicine, what can moms do to keep children healthy in a germ-filled world?
Even with cold and flu season upon us, there are a slew of tricks to prevent kids from getting sick that every mom should know. From the tried and true (hand soap) to the futuristic (a UV wand that kills germs on the spot), and everything in between, the right assortment of products and gadgets can help keep the bugs at bay. Keep in mind that diligence on Mom's part is key, as kids are unlikely to be their own first line of defense. Case in point: Sometimes my 3-year-old sone tells me he "doesn't feel like" washing his hands. Too bad, buddy. To the sink you go.
To see what you can do to keep your kids healthy, check out the below list of germ-fighting products. Cold weather may be unavoidable, but getting sick doesn't have to be.
1. A Steam Sterilizer
When germs are out in full force, sometimes you need more than just a sponge or a wipe to clean your child's bottles, sippy cups, binkies, and more. A three-in-one sterilizer, dryer, and storage container uses steam to kill germs on baby gear, followed by hot air to dry items to a germ-free finish. Items can be left inside once dried, keeping them protected until they're needed again.
2. A Germ-Busting Blankie
There's always a reason to have a small blanket on hand, whether you're using it for a burp cloth, a play mat, a lovey, or even — hear me out — a blanket. This blanket by BonnBonn one-ups the competition by featuring a layer of antimicrobial protection to keep germs (think bacteria, mold, and mildew) from growing, creating a healthier environment for your little snuggler.
3. A Healing Humidifier
Despite our best efforts, it's hard to avoid every last bad-news bug in cold and flu season. Mayo Clinic noted that using a misting humidifier in your child's room increases air moisture, which can ease sore throats, help break up congestion, and make breathing easier for a better night's sleep. In my family's house, we keep these running throughout fall and winter to nip the first signs of a cough in the bud.
4. A Sanitizing Wand
'Tis the season for holiday travel, and there's nothing like grimy airplane tray tables, train station bathrooms, and hotel remote controls (really, they're disgusting — research at your own risk) to put a damper on your festivities. Pack along a portable sanitizing wand, which beams ultraviolet light to kill germs and bacteria on hard surfaces like toys, restaurant high chairs, and faucets without the need for harsh chemicals and cleaners.
5. A Soothing Plug-In Vaporizer
When congestion starts building, it can be hard for kids to catch the Zs they need to boost their immune system back to peak levels. Using a plug-in vaporizer can help break up all the gunk in their chests, making it easier for them to breathe — and for everyone to sleep. This one by Vicks has that classic menthol scent, and as an added bonus, it can be used for even the tiniest of newborns, who don't have many resources for battling coughs and colds.
6. Antibacterial Sanitizing Wipes
It's probably best not to think about all the things your children are touching, and if they're potty-training, this applies to you doubly. Keep all-purpose antibacterial wipes on hand (and in your bag, in your car, in your coat pocket — you get the idea) to kill 99.9 percent of germs on tiny hands and surfaces. These alcohol-free wipes by Softy are, as the name suggests, soft and plush on delicate skin.
7. Backup Loveys
Loveys provide comfort, security, and a mind-boggling amount of germs, particularly if your kid insists on taking it everywhere you go. This three-pack of identical, cuddly loveys means you'll always have one to offer your child while the others are getting decontaminated in your washing machine, not to mention you're covered if you ever – gasp – lose one. Choose from a variety of cute animal options, including unicorns, puppies, and owls.
8. Probiotic Drops
Germs get a lot of bad press, but not all are created equal. The eight strains of good-for-you bacteria in this liquid probiotic support digestive health and boost the immune system. The microflora (which sounds much more appealing than bacteria) in each drop targets mold toxins and harmful bacteria taking up residency in your child's stomach, keeping your child — and you — healthier.
9. A Water Bottle To Stay Hydrated
Every cell of your child's body relies on water to function properly, so staying hydrated is crucial for staying healthy during the germy winter months. Fill a portable, playfully designed water bottle for your little one at the beginning of the day so a thirst-quenching sip is always on hand. These ones by CamelBak have festive winter designs (hey, when in Rome), but there are a plethora of other options out there to match your child's interests.
10. Immune-Boosting Gummies
People have consumed elderberries for their health-boosting properties for centuries. Turns out they're powerful antioxidants that are thought to help your immune system stave off colds, coughs, and the flu, among other ailments. These yummy, kid-friendly supplements help children reap the benefits of elderberries in an easy-to-chew gummy.
11. A Child-Friendly Surface Cleaner
Cleaning toys, high chairs, and other hard surfaces is important, especially if your little one is in the "lick everything" stage. But while you don't want your children to ingest germs, you don't want them to ingest toxic cleaning chemicals, either. A safe-yet-effective cleaning spray effectively tackles gunk and grime without relying on harsh chemicals, so your child can go back to safely gnawing on plastic.
12. Electrolyte-Replenishing Powder
It doesn't take much for little bodies to get dehydrated, especially when they're fighting a nasty bug. Pedialyte powder packs help replenish lost electrolytes and fluids quickly and with little waste. Simply open an individual packet of the kid-friendly flavors, and mix with water to help your child get back to full strength as soon as possible.
13. Foaming Hand Sanitizer
Sometimes, getting to a sink isn't practical. When that's the case, foaming hand sanitizer will be your new best friend to help you quickly de-bug your child's little hands with minimal mess. Keep a bottle of an alcohol-free sanitizer that gently foams into a lather in every room, and give a squirt to kill germs whenever and wherever you need it.
14. Cold-Weather Gear
Contrary to popular belief, being outdoors in cold-weather months doesn't make children sick. The real culprit is spending time cooped up inside, swapping germs with other kids. Wrap your little ones up in cozy layers, and top them off with a fleece hat and mitten set to keep them warm as they have adventure after adventure outside — far away from the bugs and bacteria set out to ruin their fun.
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