There is a new battleground on the horizon, and it’s one that could easily affect everyone in your family: cold and flu season.
The flu is nothing to sneeze at. It sends more young children to the hospital than any other vaccine-preventable illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The best way to prevent it and its complications is to get the flu vaccine for yourself and your family. It’s recommended for children as young as 6 months old. Of course, the vaccine’s effectiveness varies widely from season to season, so parents need to be vigilant when it comes to containing germs.
While many of us are trained to wipe down frequently-touched surfaces in our homes (door knobs, light switches) whenever someone has the flu or a nasty cold, how often do those practices carry over to the family car, especially if you carpool? Here are our tips for keeping your car from becoming a petri dish:
What to Keep in the Car:
Carting your sick children in the car is one thing, but what happens when your kids are part of a carpool? Well, if everyone isn’t careful, it’s easy for the kids to pass the same cold around. Here are some simple tips to help keep all the kids in your carpool a little healthier this winter:
If another parent in the carpool is dropping off your child at your house, make sure to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer inside your house’s front door to keep the germs at bay. Or even better, train your kids to go straight to the bathroom or kitchen sink when they get home to wash their hands with soap.
Also, make sure to wipe down your child’s backpack straps (if he or she uses one) to help thwart the spread of germs.
While you may be ready to declare germ warfare on the bacteria the carpooling kids are bringing with them, realize that not all parents will want you to hose down their kids with sanitizer. Instead focus on wiping down the car’s frequently- touched surfaces after depositing the carpoolers at their homes and finally getting to your own.
There’s one last front to consider in the car: car seats. Cleaning a car seat requires a couple of steps:
Car seats really get dirty and hold a lot of germs. Again, read the owner’s manual before washing or consider having it done by a detailing professional. Some manufacturers allow the covers to be machine-washed (and likely air-dried), while others prefer hand shampooing and air-drying.
Some final thoughts, don’t forget to wipe down your key and fob, and don’t forget the door handles inside and outside. Also, if you are prone to allergies, find out if your vehicle has a cabin air filter, it probably does. If it has one, most people should change those filters every 15,000 miles to keep the air as clean as possible in your vehicle.