25 April 2006

Babies and dirt go together just fine

A recent study suggests that early exposure to allergens strengthens babies' immune systems and protects them from allergies and asthma later on. Read Dr. Parker's entire "Healthy Children" post on the topic (there are a couple caveats), then throw away your antibacterial soap, give the feather duster the day off, turn up the music, and roll around on the floor with your baby. As my man Dr. P says: "Life is messy and maybe that's not such a bad thing after all!"

More: Best of Parent Hacks: Gardening with kids

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And don't forget to look for the practicle applications of this study as you get rid of old baby-belongings! I used that study as a selling point for the baby's (well, really the cat's) bassinet on Craig's List. "Because this bassinet has been used solely by the feline occupant of our household, it MAY even reduce your child's risk of developing allergies to cats later on! See this study for info!"

We've been kinda middle of the road on the whole anti-bacterial thing. We keep a-b soap in the bathroom and the kitchen, but have never really felt the need to use large quantities of hand-sanitizers, etc. As I told my mom, "I like to think of dirt as a really primative form of innoculation."

Practically speaking the bathroom and the kitchen are the places where you might least need anti-bacterial products because you already have access to soap and hot water.

I'd rather err on emergency hand-sanitizer and no other anti-bacterial products. After all the ingredients that make products anti-bacterial are actually pesticides and we are already trying to cut those out of our foods and gardens so why apply them to our hands?

Let's hear it for dirt!

I grew up in gardens and fields and dirt....now my kids are too. We are all healthy and loving the outdoors. We don't freak out about germs but we do wash our hands before dinner :)

Let them play. Let them learn new things and stuffs. Just guide them to the right path.

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