© 2010 Roy Benaroch, MD
Look around my waiting rooms: not a toy in sight, unless parents bring ‘em themselves. You can bet shared toys in preschool rooms and day cares are covered with a sticky sheen of snot—and the toys in a pediatrician’s office have the added bonus of being handled by kids who are sick. Mmmmm mmmmm good!
Researchers published a somewhat-nauseating study in February (summarized here) examining swabs from toys in pediatricians’ offices. About 30% of the toys had disease-causing viral particles; even after disinfection with commercial wipes, about 20% were still loaded with germs. In fact, some of the toys that were “clean” prior to their rubdown with disinfectants actually had more germs after they were sanitized.
Toys handled by sick kids get icky and germy, and are very hard to clean well. Bring your own toys along next time you visit the doctor’s office—or you might have a worse infection on your way out than on your way in!