As a pediatrician, I can tell you how your child’s cuddly toy could kill him or her.
If you’re a parent, you’ll understand how important your child’s favorite cuddly toy is.
They can calm children and even put them to sleep, but one expert has warned that their favorite bunny or bear could be dangerous.
According to Steve Turner, a consultant paediatrician specializing in allergies at the University of Dundee, failing to properly clean your children’s toys can increase the risk of deadly asthma attacks and irritating allergies.
And the fact that your child is inextricably linked to Teddy is a major health hazard, according to him.
He cited previous research from Otago University researchers in New Zealand.
More than half of all soft toys tested by scientists had potentially harmful levels of house dust mites (HDMs), which can aggravate hay fever, eczema, and asthma.
The fact that they are frequently held close to the airways while a child sleeps raises the risk of HDM-related asthma.
According to Dr. Turner, the only way to reduce the risk is to clean cuddly toys regularly and properly.
“The advice for parents is to either tumble dry the soft toy for one hour or freeze it overnight, then wash it in a cold wash to remove any allergens,” he said.
The researchers from Otago University put 36 soft toys through their paces, comparing different cleaning methods.
They discovered that freezing them for 16 hours at -15°C reduced HDM by 95%, hot tumble drying for one hour reduced mites by 89%, and soaking them in an emulsion of eucalyptus oil and liquid detergent for one hour, then rinsing and drying, also reduced HDM by 95%.
“Compared to freezing and tumble drying, washing and soaking with naturally antibacterial eucalyptus oil and detergent is very effective in not only reducing live mites, but also reducing house dust mite allergens,” says study author associate professor Dr Rob Siebers.
“After washing with eucalyptus oil and liquid detergent, ten of the 12 toys studied showed no live mites at all.”
Dr. Siebers claims that all three methods are more effective than simply washing toys because HDMs require water to be above 55 degrees Celsius to be killed, which is usually too hot and damages the toys.
Another expert told The Sun that dust and mites will never be completely eradicated from our homes.
“Dust mites, which live in dust and can be found on cuddly toys, can cause sensitivity in people with asthma,” says Eluned Hughes, head of health advice at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation.
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