Moms Against Cooties

By Shannon Gosney
In Education
May 29, 2011

Yesterday, I received an email entitled, “Moms Against Cooties.” I found it intriguing and decided I wanted to share the information with you on The Mommy-Files.  So, what is Moms Against Cooties?  It is a national initiative to help spread awareness about how to best avoid bringing home sicknesses from daycares, focused on motivating moms to educate their daycares on the proper ways to fight germs!  While most daycares are aware of (and practice) safe cleaning techniques, the only way to truly decrease the spread of illnesses is by disinfecting.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and many state guidelines recommend a simple, cheap chlorine bleach solution as the most effective way to knock out germs.

Daycare Disinfection Fact Sheet

Daycares enable the spread of infectious diseases to children and families.

  • Viruses like the flu may be transferred to the mouth after handling everyday objects.[i]
  • One study showed that children two years old and younger put their hands or other objects into their mouths an average of 81 times per hour. (This rate drops to 42 times per hour for children older than two.)[ii] It is also documented that a substantial portion of human respiratory tract infections are likely transmitted via contaminated hand contact with mouth, eyes or nostrils.[iii]
  • A study of over 1,000 environmental surfaces found children’s playground equipment and surfaces in daycare centers to be the most frequently contaminated.[iv]
  • Researchers found the flu virus on more than half of inanimate surfaces in homes and daycare centers during flu season[v] and viruses and bacteria are known to survive for days on these surfaces.

Proper daycare disinfection helps to keep kids healthy; this in turn keeps parents working, and employers productive.

  • Lost work hours (e.g., parents staying home from work to care for sick children; parents taking children to the doctor) and reducing antibiotic use can help lower the risk of evolution of antibiotic-resistant strains of pathogens, a major concern of medical experts.[vi]
  • A 2005 report found nearly 40 percent of employers surveyed report that presenteeism—people reporting for work but performing below par due to an illness– is a problem in their organization.
  • Parents who feel they cannot take time off from their jobs to care for their sick children may deliver, not just a child to daycare, but little “illness incubators.”

Daycare disinfection cuts healthcare costs and keeps antibiotic resistant strains of pathogens at bay.

  • Research shows disinfecting environmental surfaces such as toys, sinks and floors in child care centers results in significant decreases in rates of diarrhea and upper respiratory tract infections.[vii]
  • Research shows that attention to proper disinfection in day care centers is associated with a 32% lower use of antibiotics by children who are cared for in these environments (indicating fewer doctor visits and prescriptions, impacting health care costs).
  • Proper daycare disinfection kills bacteria without promoting bacterial resistance.[viii]

A solution to a growing health care concern: Chlorine Bleach is a cheap, effective disinfectant that can help prevent the spread of illnesses in daycare centers

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)[ix] and many state guidelines recommend chlorine bleach solutions for disinfecting daycare environmental surfaces.
  • Chlorine bleach destroys most bacteria and viruses that lurk on surfaces in daycare centers.  And bleach kills norovirus, the most common cause of stomach illness.

[i] Rusin et al. (2002)

[ii] Tulve et al. (2002)

[iii] Nicas and Best (2008)

[iv] Reynolds et al. (2005)

[v] Boone and Gerba (2005)

[vi]Bronson-Lowe, D.L., et al. (manuscript from Dr. Gerba)

[vii] Kotch et al., 1994; Carabin et al., 1999

[viii] Orosz-Coughlan, Sanders, Gerba and Rusin

[ix]CDC, (2004)

Please visit Moms Against Cooties online at to start fighting cooties today! Moms Against Cooties advocates Clean Daycares for Healthy Kids.

I received no compensation for this post but felt it was good information for my readers on The Mommy-Files.  All opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine.


About Has 4151 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of RedheadMom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

6 Responses to “Moms Against Cooties”

  1. ANN* says:

    This is very good info for parents. I used to work in daycare before I retired. Lots of helpful info here.

  2. Very interesting! I haven’t gotten my kids into daycare yet, but illness is definitely one of my biggest concerns!

  3. Elena says:

    Very interesting! Thanks for sharing!

  4. ellen says:

    With so many children in daycare now, I think another important point too is many parents send them even when they are obviously ill due to their own work schedules. Thats most unfortunate, as those kids will get everyone else sick including the teachers/aides. One of the very worst colds/flu I ever got was from a kid when I worked in the school system!

  5. The same goes for school too! I have to admit that my daycare provider keeps her stuff really clean. 🙂

  6. Jennifer Young says:

    This is a must-know for parents!!! I’ve worked in lots of daycares, preschools, and schools and have seen illnesses and viruses spread like crazy! One of my daughers are going into kindergarten this year and the other is going into preschool. I am DREADING what kind of illnesses they bring home this year. (Oh, and I will be substitute teaching and my husband is finishing up his college classes so we will have quite the assortment of school germs). Luckily my husband and I are very aware of the need to wash our hands often and I’m hoping we’ve passed that on to our children!

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