A team of researchers at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee set out to find out hw to best minimise the risk of infection after surgery, the Daily Mail reports. They found that current infection prevention methods are not effective enough. Along with that they discovered that bringing stuffed animals into the operating center is not really a good idea.
Turns out that all of the soft toys the researchers tested were showing bacterial growth. The scientists also found that a simple classic wash cycle followed by a dry cycle at home, then sealing the toy (when completely dry) in a plastic bag for 24 hourse, basically sterillised 79% of all tested toys.
The study report states: ‘These results indicate that items of comfort, such as stuffed animals, brought into the operating room with a benevolent purpose may represent a reservoir of bacteria that could lead to unwanted surgical-site infections.
The researchers note that future studies will be needed to determine the correlation between stuffed animals that test positive for bacteria and surgical-site infections.
So maybe it is still a little early to jump into conclusions. What is obvious though is that a hospital should be as clean as possible. It is also important to keep patients, especially children, comfortable and stuffed animals have a vital role in that.
So, yes, you should continue to bring a childs favorite stuffed animal to the hospital. But before you do, give it a good wash in the washing machine. If it is not machine washable, you can do a surface wash. Then, just in case, do a little extra treatment.
This should make the stuffed animals clean enough to be safe. Even better, when you transport the toys to the hospital, keep them in a sealed plastic bag, to stop any germs finding their way to the stuffies.