Keep Your Kids' Toys Safe from COVID, Cold, and Flu Germs
By Daniel Lynch, PA, Physician Assistant—Virtua Primary Care - Moorestown
If you have children, you likely have plenty of toys around the house. Whether your child is into Legos or stuffed animals, video games or arts and crafts, there’s one constant—germs.
But with worries about the spread of COVID-19, there’s even more reason to clean and disinfect your children’s toys.
Like viruses that cause the cold and flu, coronavirus can survive for hours to days on hard, nonporous surfaces like plastic, metal, and rubber toys, as well as tables, floors, doorknobs, toilets, and light switches.
Follow these tips to clean and disinfect toys and other objects your child may touch.
- Plastic, metal, and rubber toys: If the toy is dishwasher safe, stick them in the machine’s top rack (use a mesh bag if the toys are small), and select the normal wash and heated dry cycles. You also can hand wash with soap and water and disinfect with diluted bleach. Add one tablespoon of household bleach to one quart of water. Apply the solution with a cloth, let it stand for three to five minutes, and then rinse it off with water. Let them fully dry.
- Stuffed animals, blankets, and cloth books: Put them in a pillowcase or mesh bag and stick them in the washing machine. Use warm water and gentle cycle. Dry on a low-heat setting. Note that some plush toys, such as those with battery packs or other electronics, should not be thrown in the wash. Instead, clean them with a cloth dipped in warm, soapy water. Rinse with a damp cloth and then air dry.
- Board books and wooden blocks: Wipe with alcohol-based wipes or spray. Let air dry.
- Paper books and magazines: Put them aside for two weeks or throw them out.
- Electronics: Remove any batteries or unplug. Clean the surface with an alcohol-based wipe, being careful not to let any liquid seep inside. Rinse with a damp cloth and let dry.
Protect your family from illness
In addition to disinfecting toys and other commonly touched items, follow these steps to help keep COVID, cold, and flu out of your home:
- Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub well, being sure to get the back of your hands and under fingernails. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw it away.
- Wear a mask whenever in public.
Know where to go when you get sick
Virtua offers high-quality urgent care at eight convenient locations throughout South Jersey, and telehealth visits, so you can get the care you need when you need it. We treat minor illness like colds, flu and stomach virus, and minor injuries like sprains, strains and small cuts—stitches provided. We’re open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, including weekends and holidays.
Updated November 24, 2020