It is often said that stuffed animals might be carrying quite a lot of bacteria because the children bring them everywhere. A new study shows the opposite. It turns out that stuffed animals carry little to no bacteria even if they might be played with a lot.
This is what the results of of a recent study show. The study was meant to find out how dirty kids’ toys can be. It was done by Birgit Pruess from the North Dakota State University Department of Veterinay and Microbiological Sciences, Grand Forks Herald reports.
She says the study is not a real scientific study because it didn’t have quite enough samples and was not standardized. She simply took some toys from three children aged 1, 4 and 10 to find out just what germs might be lurking in the stuff they play with.
The most interesting result was that the teddy bear of the 4-year-old had no bacterial colonies. The child sleeps with the teddy bear every night and Pruess says she was expecting it to have among the highest bacteria count. Yet it turned out there was none. The specialist says either the bacteria was too strongly attached to the fibers or simply the toy is clean.
This actually supports other similar discoveries. For example Beanie Babies are not home to spider eggs. Often stuffies are thought of having a lot of germs, but they don’t or it is very easy to remove them.
There is a good reason for that. While stuffed animals may look very comfy and playful, they really are not a great home to bacteria. Manufacturers put quite the effort to make and use safe materials. One of these qualities is that they are simpply not a great place for bacteria to develop. With that being said, this does not mean that you should not regularly clean and maintain the toys.
So, which are the toys that had the most bacteria? For the toddler that was the plastic giraffe which doubles as a teething toy. It had about 450 colonies of bacteries.
While the 4-year-old had a very bacteria free teddy bear, it compensated for that with the video game he owns. It had about 90 colonies when all of his other toys had between two and 18, apart from the teddy bear which had none.
Unsurprisingly, the 10-year-old kid has a cellphone which she uses quite a lot. It had about 150 to 200 colonies of bacteria.
Pruess says there are 10 times as many bacteria on our bodies as there are human cells. Most of these bacteria are not harmful and actually help our health.
People with good immune systems also naturally have good defenses against bugs, says Dr. Norbert Yoe, Essentia Health pediatrician.
And just because there are bacteria or germs on something, doesn’t mean that they’re all going to cause disease, says Dr. Brennan Forward, Sanford Health pediatrician.
Yoe says that it is a good idea to adapt the schedule of cleaning the toys. If the child has been sick for example it is best to clean the toys after the kid is healthy again. For most of the toys a simply soap and water clean would be more than enough he adds.
He adds cloth toys don’t transmit bacteria as easily as plastic toys but they are also harder to clean. We have you covered for that though. The specialist also says that you should let your kids get dirty. It is beneficial to the development of their immune system.