Keeping Your Nursery Clean and Healthy

Nobody wants a child to get sick from spending time in the church nursery. That’s why you should strive to keep your nursery as clean as possible.

Tammy Else, child life specialist at Lutheran Children’s Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is in charge of maintaining a hospital playroom for sick children. She shared these tips for reducing germ transmission:

Wipe down all surfaces with a disinfectant. This includes changing areas, counters, tables, chairs, swings, cribs, and activity saucers. If hospital-grade sanitizers are unavailable, one cup of bleach to one gallon of water makes an effective substitute. Double the amount of bleach for diaper changing areas. Put it in spray bottles so it’s easy to use. Sanitize weekly if your nursery is used only on Sundays. Do it more often if your nursery is used during the week.

Sanitize all toys. Books, dolls, and anything battery operated or mechanical should be wiped down with disinfectant weekly and allowed to dry. Everything else should soak in bleach water at least 15 minutes to overnight. Sanitize toys more often if your nursery is used during the week.

Avoid stuffed animals and soft dolls. Germs can live for a long time in the fur of stuffed animals and the fabric bodies of dolls. Even doll clothes could innocently pass germs from one child to another. Allow children to bring their own blankets or stuffed animals, but don’t let them share.

Don’t allow contagious children in. Hospital playrooms are off-limits to children who’ve had a fever in the past 24 hours or who have contagious diseases. Church nurseries should consider following the same guidelines. Toys used by ill children should be quarantined until they can be sanitized.

Require hand washing. Wash children’s hands as they enter and before they leave the nursery. For convenience, you can use antibacterial cleansing lotion instead of soap and water, if parents say it’s okay.

Use receiving blankets. Infant swings and activity saucers have fabric seats that are difficult to clean. Place a fresh receiving blanket down before inserting each child to keep germ transmission to a minimum.