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16 Germ-Busting Products
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You might once have been fine sitting directly on the public restroom toilet seat or following the five- (read: 10) second rule, but then you went and had kids. Now? You're not only a member of the Germaphobe Club, you're the president! While you can never keep your little germ magnets completely clean, these products might solve some of your most common "Ewww!" scenarios.
Problem: Your teething baby gnaws on high chairs and shopping cart handles
Solution: Balboa Baby Shopping Cart & High Chair Cover
Do you get who-knows-who's-touched-that paranoia around shopping carts and restaurant high chairs? Tote along this Balboa Baby shopping cart and high chair cover -- it folds up into a chic clutch -- and put your baby's favorite teething rings on the toy loops for her to chew.
Balboa Baby Shopping Cart & High Chair Cover, $44.99, toysrus.com
Problem: Your kid washes her hands -- for about two seconds
Solution: Squid Soap
Unless you're there to nag, there's no chance she's washing her hands for the recommended 20 seconds. Squid Soap attempts to solve that problem by inking kids with a stamp when they pump the soap, which takes -- you guessed it! -- 20 seconds to wash off.
Squid Soap, $8.99, available at mass retailers nationwide
Problem: Your baby finds restaurant table edges so very appetizing
Solution: Table Toppers
Those paper placemats might be great for older kids, but they don't do much to cover those mouth-watering -- to your baby at least -- table edges. Set your babe's place with a sticky-backed Table Topper, which feature fun kid characters like Dora and Winnie the Pooh. The biodegradable toppers adhere to the table so they won't shift, and you can attach one side over the edge of the table so your kid can gnaw away, and eat Cheerios right off the table, even if you're not sure it's been wiped down.
Table Toppers by Neat Solutions, $8.99 for 18, tabletopper.com for locations
Problem: Muscle strain from holding your kid over icky public toilets
Solution: Sesame Street Disposable Toilet Seat Covers
Sure, some public bathrooms have those flimsy toilet seat covers, but you still have to steady your kid from sliding around. These Sesame Street toilet seat covers have two sticky strips that adhere the cover to the seat, and overlap so kids can hang on the sides -- giving your biceps a rest.
Sesame Street Disposable Toilet Seat Covers by Neat Solutions, $16.39 for 40, amazon.com
Problem: Your kid needs to clean her hands, and there's not a sink in sight
Solution: Babyganics The Germinator Foaming Hand Sanitizer
In the car, on the playground, playing outside -- there are plenty of germy places your kid can be where sinks and soap are not. Keep their hands clean with Germinator foaming hand sanitizer, which is alcohol- and fragrance-free for sensitive kid skin.
The Germinator, $3.99 for 50mL, babyganics.com
Problem: Your tot spat his paci out on the floor of the store, and is headed for a four-alarm meltdown
Solution: The First Years By Learning Curve Pacifier Wipes
Have you ever "refreshed" a dirty binky by popping in your own mouth? Desperate times call for desperate measures -- or for these pacifier wipes. They're made with FDA food-grade ingredients and are also useful for wiping down teething toys and the tops of bottles and cups.
The First Years By Learning Curve Pacifier Wipes, $3.99 for 30, buybuybaby.com
Problem: You need a wipe stat, but they're located in the black hole known as your diaper bag
Solution: Skip Hop Swipe Wipes Case
Keep much-needed wipes moist and at the ready in this mod case. It straps on to a diaper bag strap or stroller handle for convenience, and you can slide it open one-handed.
Skip Hop Swipe Wipes Case, $8, skiphop.com
Problem: Sterilizing bottles is a huge pain in the you-know-what
Solution: Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer Bags
If you're way over boiling bottles, nipples and pacis, you might go for these microwave sterilizer bags. Nuke pacifiers, bottles, nipples and breast pump equipment in the bag to kill 99.9% of bacteria and germs. Big plus: each bag can be re-used up to 20 times.
Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Sterilizer Bags, $5.99 for 6, buybuybaby.com
Problem: Germy hand towels
Solution: Kleenex Disposable Hand Towels
So you finally get your kid to wash his hands, but then he dries them on that filthy, damp hand towel. Unless you have an endless supply of freshly-laundered towels (and who does?), these new disposable hand towels from Kleenex might be the solution. Keep the box next to the sink or prop upside down on the towel rack. Your kid can grab a fresh one to dry his hands -- and throw the germs away with it.
Kleenex Hand Towels, $2.99, available at mass retailers nationwide
Problem: Your hungry kid wants an apple on the way home from the grocery store -- but you haven't washed it yet
Solution: Eat Cleaner Food Wash Wipes
The makers of these wipes say that on average, 20 pairs of hands touch your produce before you eat it. And here you were just worried about pesticides! Eat Clean's wipes claim to remove pesticide residue and wax from fruit and veggies -- you can also use on utensils and hands pre-nosh. If using a wipe for every apple you eat seems less than green, you'll be happy to know that the wipes are biodegradable and come in a reusable pouch.
Eat Cleaner Food Wash Wipes, $3.50 for 6, eatcleaner.com
Problem: Pacis floating around in the diaper bag
Solution: Carter's Pacifier Cases
Your kid's done with her paci -- where to put it? And where's that clean one you know you packed? Keep the binkies straight in these cute holders. Loop them on to your stroller or diaper bag for easy access, and wipe down the antimicrobial interiors for quick cleaning.
Carter's Pacifier Case 2-Pack, $9.99, toysrus.com
Problem: Sticky kid hands and face...and you're nowhere near a sink
Solution: Wet Ones Wipes
Somehow, some way, kids always end up in a sticky situation (literally) -- and somehow it's always when there's no place nearby to wash up. Give your kid the wipe-down with a Wet Ones wipe. They're hypoallergenic and come in canister, travel pouch or packet sizes, so they're easy to keep on hand in your purse, car, desk or wherever.
Wet Ones Wipes, $1.29 for pack of 15 wipes, available at mass retailers nationwide
Problem: Your sniffly kiddo needs a humidifier -- but you're worried it's spewing germs into the air
Solution: Vicks Germ Free Humidifier
You'll bust out the humidifier when your kid's stuffed-up -- but how long has that water been sitting there? And even if you change it, is it still spouting icky germs into the air? This humidifier from Vick's kills bacteria, mold and spore germs -- at least 99.999% of them -- in its UV chamber.
Vicks UV 99.999% Germ Free Humidifier, $57.90, amazon.com
Problem: An off-site poop blowout renders your diaper bag a disaster zone
Solution: Disposable Changing Pads
Why do diaper explosions always seem to happen when you're miles from a washing machine? Then you're stuck toting around a soiled changing pad. Enter these large disposable changing pads -- just use 'em and toss 'em. These also work as a burp cloth stand-in too.
Especially for Baby Large Disposable Multi-Use Pads, $2.59 for 6, toysrus.com
Problem: Post-playdate, you need to de-germ your baby's toys -- but which cleanser is safe?
Solution: Dapple Toy Cleansers
Spritz your child's toys, swings, and high chair with Dapple's Toy Cleanser, formulated with baking soda and free of phthalates and parabens. Stash Dapple's biodegradable wipes version in the car or diaper bag for an on-the-go cleanse.
Dapple Toy Cleanser, $5.99 for 16.9 ounces, buybuybaby.com
Problem: You look at the grimy screen of your iPod or your kid's Nintendo DS and think, That cannot be clean.
Solution: Wireless Wipes
You're right -- it's probably not clean. Daily use can build up germs on cell phones, iPod and computer screens, so when you're handing it over to let your kid play with it, you're probably handing over germs too. Can't hurt to give your kids' -- and your -- tech gear the wipe down. Wireless Wipes have an alcohol-based, fast drying formula that won't corrode or streak screens.
Wireless Wipes, $2.99 for 10 wipes, amazon.com