Do you ever wonder why kids’ school-supply lists include about a thousand containers of disinfectant wipes?
Believe it or not, the teachers are not just trying to make your life more difficult. There’s a reason those wipes are desperately needed inside the halls of your child’s school.
Pediatrics professor Dr. Harley Rotbart refers to schools as “germ candy stores.” Just what every parent wants to hear, I know. But a little due diligence can make a world of difference for your children’s health.
Germs are everywhere in schools, with so-called “hot zones” including drinking fountains, cafeteria trays and computers — and those germs can lead to everything from the simple common cold to influenza and norovirus. Here are seven spots in schools that are most likely to carry germs because teachers aren’t asking parents to send all of those disinfecting wipes to school just for fun.
1. Bathroom doors
Not all kids wash their hands like they should, so you may want to teach your kiddos to use a paper towel to open the door when they leave the bathroom.
Kids spend most of the school day at their desks. It’s where they cough, sneeze and wipe their nose — so there’s no surprise that it’s probably harboring some germs. Teach your kids to keep their hands off their faces, especially after they’ve touched their desks.
3. Computer keyboards and mice
How many tiny, germ-ridden fingers touch that keyboard and mouse over the course of the day? Kids should wash their hands as soon as they finish up computer time — this goes for shared tablets too.
4. Library tables
Library tables are even worse than classroom desks since they get the same treatment, but by way more kids. Yet another reason it’s never a good idea to lick your fingers for easy page turning.
5. Paper towel handles
You’d think this is one spot that would be clean since kids touch it right after washing their hands. Turns out, it’s just more proof that they’re obviously not washing like they should. If a touchless dispenser isn’t available use your elbow to dispense paper towels.
6. Drinking fountains
Drinking fountains are probably the germiest places in schools — which is super-gross when you think about how they’re used. Consider sending a water bottle to school with your kiddos, and if that’s not an option, teach them to let the water flow for a few seconds before taking a sip.
7. Sports equipment
They’re passing a lot more than just a ball during gym class. Make sure your kids know a thorough hand-washing should follow every gym class.
8. Playground equipment
When was the last time you saw someone scrubbing the playground equipment? It’s no wonder it’s such a germ hot spot.
9. Cafeteria trays
Whoo-hoo! Lunch time = freedom. When kids roll into the cafeteria, there’s a good chance they’re high-fiving their friends, touching their germy phones and transferring all those unwanted microbes to their cafeteria tray. Encourage your kids to carry their trays to the table, then use hand sanitizer before chowing down.
More: Everything you need to know about sick child care
10. Art supplies
This is yet another item that gets handled by tons of different kids each day. Once again, they key here is getting kids to wash their hands after they’re finished using them.
11. Backpacks and lunchboxes
You may think backpacks and lunchboxes are relatively safe from germs since they’re only handled by your kids, but they’re actually pretty contaminated. I mean, they’re dragged on the ground, tossed around on the bus and manhandled all day, for cryin’ out loud. Cut back on germs by washing these out once a week following the manufacturer’s instructions.
This post was sponsored by Clorox.