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Protecting Your Busy Baby (& their mat) Against Harsh Surface Cleaners

Protecting Your Busy Baby (& their mat) Against Harsh Surface Cleaners

The Wild, Wild, West of COVID Cleaners 

Our job as parents is to do the best we can at protecting our little ones from a world full of germs. And that job has gotten a lot tougher following the onset of the coronavirus. 

Now, those harmless moments of watching our babies eat off the floor or play with random household objects are filled with a lot more caution. 

We think it’s safe to say that parents worry about germs ALL the time now. 

And while we know all germs aren’t created equal, living during a pandemic has significantly increased the need for parents to protect their babies from deadly coronavirus germs.

As we learn more about the coronavirus, and what to do to protect our family against exposure, parents are no longer confined to keeping their littles safe at home. Venturing out to grab food or a few rays of sunshine outdoors is safe, as long as you practice physical distancing of course!

With state and local guidelines developing around health and safety, many businesses have been allowed to reopen; giving parents even more options for activities during their day. 

Restaurant owners are leading the pack in finding new and creative ways to operate safely and dining in is becoming popular; amongst other activities. 

With restaurant owners increasing their efforts to clean and sanitize seating areas, they must also find ways to cut costs. However, these savings often come at a price and many businesses are purchasing cleaners in bulk to keep up with new safety standards.  

According to the FDA (Food & Drug Administration), restaurants in operation must frequently disinfect surfaces repeatedly touched by employees or customers. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) also offers an extensive list of acceptable cleaners to disinfect surfaces of the coronavirus pathogens. However, the list does not describe the impact these chemicals have on anyone who comes into contact with them.

Just like germs, all cleaners are not created equal. 

While upping your cleaning game is never a bad idea, it’s important to realize that if you’re eating out, we’re living in the wild wild west of surface cleaners.

 

Even surface cleaners that have been approved by the EPA may cause adverse effects on your baby’s health if they come into contact with lingering chemicals. Ingredients like phenolic, quaternary ammonium, sodium hypochlorite, and many others are chemicals that appear frequently on the list of acceptable surface cleaners for restaurants to use. 

Though the EPA has deemed these chemicals as “safe” to use for cleaning, they can still cause adverse reactions. Irritation of the eyes, skin, and the respiratory tract has been commonly associated with overexposure to surface cleaners. Be sure to keep a layer of protection between the surface and your baby!

Not only are the effects of these chemicals questionable, but they can also leave a film behind on your mat. This film may or may not be visible and can prevent the mats suctions from sticking to surfaces. In fact, we’ve found that as cleaning measures increase across the globe, so have reports of our Busy Baby mat not sticking to surfaces.

But don’t worry, because we’ve figured it out.

 After talking with some of our Busy Baby moms, they’ve shared that the mat sticks well before it’s used on public surfaces that have been disinfected. And to take it a little further, we’ tested this out on our own.  

Should I Clean My Mat After Each Use?

Yes! Since our mat is made of food-grade silicone, it naturally attracts crumbs, dust, and lint. This is a feature of all food-grade silicone products. 

It’s important to always clean your mat after each usefront & back

It’s no secret our mats provide an added layer of protection between baby and any questionable surface. Many parents have shared that our Busy Baby Mat gives them peace of mind in their fight against germs

But we’re also finding that our mat has trouble sticking to surfaces that have been cleaned with harsh chemicals.

Now that surface cleaners are being used more frequently, using your mat on a public surface is another big reason to clean your mat after use. Many surface cleaners approved by the EPA leave a film of residue behind, preventing the mats suctions from sticking. This same film stays on the mat after use and can prevent it from sticking to other surfaces in the future. 

While we don’t know the exact chemical that is causing the issue, we do know that the mat always sticks better when it's clean. 

 

What Should I Use to Clean my Mat?

As we mentioned before...all cleaners are NOT created equal. And water and soap usually do the trick. But we also know that soap and water don’t always remove the film that strong surface cleaners leave behind. 

After putting our mat to the test, here’s what we found when trying to remove this pesky chemical film...

  1. The cleaning process should start before you place your mat down, especially if you’re out in public. Wipe down the surface with a baby wipe or Clorox wipe before using the mat to avoid the film altogether. (Alcohol wipes work too!)
  2. Don’t use sanitizers that include methanol. This is a deadly chemical that was recently found in a long list of hand sanitizers currently being recalled. Hand sanitizers that do not include methanol may be used to clean the mat. 
  3. Once you get home, wash the mat with Dawn dish soap and hot water
  4. If your mat still has issues sticking afterward, we suggest making a paste out of water (or hydrogen peroxide) and baking soda to clean the film off the mat. To do this, you’ll want to create a thick paste made up of one part liquid and two parts baking soda. (If the paste isn’t thick, you can add a little more baking soda to make it thicker.) Once you’ve got your paste ready, rub the mixture all over the bottom of the mat and let the paste soak for 10-20 minutes before rinsing it off. Making a paste with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide will work even better!

 

How Else Can I Get the Mat to Suck Better?

Who doesn’t love a Busy Baby Mat that sucks? We do and we know you do too! So no matter where you’re using the mat, keep these tips in mind to get the best suction.

  1. The surface and the bottom of the mat must be clean.  Any crumbs, dust, lint, etc will make the mats suctions less 'sucky'. The nature of food-grade silicone is to attract dust and lint. (If we used the additive that would repel those things, it would no longer be food-safe.)
  2. The surface has to be smooth.  Some tables and trays have texture to them, which also makes the suction less 'sucky'.  
  3. Make sure the squiggly end of the tether is plugged into the mat.  The squiggles help take some of the direct pressure off of the suction cup when the baby is tugging. 
  4. Place the tray away from your baby. The attachment points on the top of the mat are angled so that when the tethers are pulled at an angle, it’s less likely to break the suction. If you have the tray close to the baby's belly, it will be easier for them to pull it up.

As we find more ways to stay healthy and safe during these unparalleled times, we’re glad to be a part of the solution in protecting your baby against germs. 

Are there other ways you like to clean your mat? Tag us on Instagram @busybabymat and show us how you clean yours!










New Ways to Protect Your Baby from Public Surface Germs

New Ways to Protect Your Baby from Public Surface Germs

 

Let’s talk about germs.

As a parent, your busy baby puts you in some unique situations. From eating off the floor, to sucking on shopping cart handles, to putting ALL the things in their mouths... they keep you on your toes and more cautious about germs.

Preventing the spread of germs is a big part of the daily routine that keeps your baby safe and healthy. 

While parents aren’t new to germs, the recent spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), has increased the level of germ awareness across the globe. 

According to the CDC, the virus typically spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets that are transmitted from coughing, sneezing, or talking. Due to its composition, the virus can live on various surfaces for several days. Although more research is being done to find out how the virus spreads, health experts have found that coming into contact with contaminated surface areas can lead to contracting the illness.    

As a result, health experts recommend cleaning surface areas as often and thoroughly as possible. But this can be challenging to do, especially when you have a busy baby to keep up with.

While it’s important to clean the surfaces in your home and in public, adding the Busy Baby Mat to your daily routine puts an extra barrier between your baby and any lingering germs.

 

For extra precaution, always disinfect surface areas before putting the mat down for your baby to enjoy. This can help prevent surface germs from sticking to the bottom of your mat. 

The CDC recently shared that using soap and water is the first step to disinfecting soft surfaces against the coronavirus. So, if you're using the mat at home, you can’t go wrong with using good old-fashioned soap and water to clean surfaces beforehand. 

However, if you’re planning to take your baby for a trip outdoors, you may want to bring along a surface cleaner with a little more kick. There are several products you can try to get the job done. In fact, the U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a list of over 300 disinfecting products you can use in your home. Many of these products can also be used on public surface areas, while you're on the go. 

When choosing a cleaner, you’ll want to check the label to make sure it can take care of bacteria and viruses that live on soft surfaces. Health experts also suggest using environmentally friendly cleaners that don’t have lots of harsh chemicals.

Once you’ve got your ideal cleaning product, you can use it to wipe down tables, highchairs, travel systems, or any other smooth surface before placing your mat down. We also recommend cleaning surfaces in these specific ways to ensure your baby’s safety:

Skip the baby wipes. 

Although tempting, baby wipes aren’t strong enough to destroy deadly surface germs. However, you can still use them for your baby or to wipe down washable marker residue off your mat. They also work great to improve suction. Simply wipe down the suction cups and the surface before you put down the mat.

Swipe right (or left).

If you’re using alcohol or ammonia-based wipes, the CDC recommends you practice the wipe-discard-wipe method. Contrary to popular belief, wiping a surface in circular motions moves germs around, rather than removing them completely. You can remove more surface germs by wiping in one direction, tossing the wipe, and wiping the surface once more. 

If you’re short on wipes, just remember...a contaminated wipe shouldn’t be passed over an area that has just been wiped. Instead, try folding the contaminated wipe after each swipe. This offers a new surface for each swipe. 

Spray and slay.

If you’re using a disinfectant spray, the CDC recommends the spray-wipe-spray method. Letting the disinfectant sit for a few moments gives it time to destroy existing germs. Wipe the germs away and spray the surface area once more to kill off any remaining germs. 

Air-dry, then give it a try.

After wiping or spraying away any germs, always wait another few seconds for the surface area to dry. The suctions on the back of your mat work best on dry surfaces. Once dry, place your mat down and let your busy baby have at it!  

Clean it again—yes, again.

When you're all done, don’t forget to clean the mat once more—especially if you’re using it in a public space. Use your disinfectant to quickly wipe it off from front to back. Then roll it up and put it in its sleeve.

If you’re using it home, you can stick to using soap and water or toss it in your dishwasher. 

For added germ protection, you can also place your mat in a large zip lock bag if you plan to store it in a bag in between uses. However, zip lock bags aren’t necessary to maintain cleanliness. The mat’s sleeve is the perfect barrier against germs all on its own. 

Speaking of the sleeve...don’t forget to wash that too! You can hand wash it or machine wash it every few uses.

Now...if you’re not doing this already, these added steps may seem a little overwhelming. 

And you're 100% right. 

Being more conscious of germs and taking the extra steps to clean everything your baby encounters takes work.

But we know you’re willing to go the extra mile to keep your baby germ free. And we’re certain that, after putting these steps into practice, the added precautions will start to become a normal part of keeping your baby happy and healthy. 

Other than cleaning surface germs...what are some other ways you and your busy baby are staying safe at home during COVID-19? 

Tag us on Instagram @busybabymat and share your story with us. We can’t wait to hear it! 

Five Tips to Keep Your Baby Busy During the Coronoavirus (While Working from Home)

Five Tips to Keep Your Baby Busy During the Coronoavirus (While Working from Home)

Being a work from home (WFH) parent sounds pretty enticing for those who have yet to try it.

But working from home with little ones presents its own set of unique challenges.

Due to the current global crisis of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many parents are now forced to work from home and are learning the high and lows of #wfhlife.

 

Whether you’re a stay at home mom (SAHM)—who is always working from home—or new to this work environment...it’s tougher to get things done when your whole family is home. 


With schools, daycares, and non-essential businesses closed, our conventional ways of living are gone. And many parents are left no choice but to become professional jugglers—working from home while caring for their kids.

So, if this whole work from home gig seems all too challenging...that’s because IT IS. And we think you should cut yourself some slack if you don’t get everything right.

There’s no perfect way to parent during a pandemic. 

Even though you're working from home, life looks very different for everyone right now. 

You’ve got... 

a. the normal pressures of being a parent
b. the pressure to be a professional
c. the pressure to add some type of normalcy to your family’s lives 
d. ...and then there’s the pressure to find toilet paper! 

There’s way more than usual on your plate. So, don’t be hard on yourself. 
Instead, embrace the learning curve that working from home is. And do your best to navigate working from home life while social distancing is in place. 

So how exactly do you do this?? 

1. Rewrite your WFH lifestyle
 
First things first, you’ve got to remember that you aren’t simply “working from home”. 
 
You are “working from home during a pandemic”. There is a big difference. 
 
If you’re feeling the pressure to still be the perfect employee or prove that you can be just as productive working from home, you might want to ease up. 
 
Many employers understand the major impact COVID-19 has had on parents. If you need to implement more work-life balance to your schedule, make sure to discuss this with your employer. You may find that they have already limited their expectations of you, considering the state of emergency we’re all in.
 
Once you’ve gotten past the employee guilt, practice setting realistic expectations for the week and leave time for plans to shift. If everything doesn’t go as planned, be open to spontaneity. 
 
Your little ones will enjoy it!
 
If some parts of your day just aren’t working out or cause too much stress, tweak plans as you go. Remove the routines that don’t work and implement simpler ones. Whatever you do, try to be flexible & keep it simple.

2. Consistency is key-ish

While we think color-coded Quarantine Schedules are simply adorable, they also come with a lot of pressure.

During this time of uncertainty, rigid schedules may not be the best way to go. However, both you and your child will benefit more from some type of consistency. 

Health experts suggest that children feel more safe and secure when they know what to expect. So, incorporating some level of predictability into your family’s schedule is important.

Instead of creating a lengthy schedule, work in time blocks of 30-45 minutes. When creating time blocks, keep your child’s age and developmental stage in mind. Depending on their age, you may need to consider shorter time blocks that suit their attention spans.

We think our Busy Baby Mat is one great item to have on hand, especially when you're looking to keep your little one content for different lengths of time. It’s perfect for babies starting around 4 months and will help to develop their fine motor skills while you work.


3. Manage Time with Your Busy Baby

If you have more than one kid at home and you feel overwhelmed, we don’t blame you. 
 
Being home with your baby is one thing, but when all your kids are home, it can be a lot harder to keep your baby content.
 
When and if you can, try optimizing your baby’s downtime. Work while they play, eat, and of course sleep. Using the Busy Baby Mat during playtime and mealtime keeps them entertained for longer periods. Which allows you more time to answer emails! 
 
And because we know all busy babies get needy sometimes, try placing the mat on your work desk while your baby sits in your lap. It’s honestly one of the best ways to multitask while working from home. 
 
When you’re not working at your desk, you can also use the mat in other areas of your home. Stick it to the side of the fridge or dishwasher to keep your baby occupied while you whip up dinner in the kitchen. You can also attach it to any glass door or window for ample playtime.
 
If you’ve got a busy toddler on your hands, don’t forget to add the mat to your toddler’s next session of arts and crafts! Use the mat with washable markers and let your little one create a masterpiece while you work.
 


Aside from those extracurricular activities, the Busy Baby Mat is ideal during any mealtime. And to be honest... mealtime is pretty much all the time when you’re stuck at staying at home.
 
These are just some of the ways you can keep your baby occupied and get a little work done, without increasing screen time. Although easier said than done, experts suggest continuing to be mindful of how much screen time your child has. Instead, parents are encouraged to use this time to get creative and introduce more screen-free activities to young children.
 
Luckily, you don’t have to worry about getting too creative. Our Busy Baby Mat offers screen-free activities nearly anywhere in your entire home. All you need is a flat surface!
 
4. Don’t forget about YOU

Many people underestimate the mental toll working from home with little ones can have. Mentally, you are always “on”. With very little downtime or space to take a break from your actual job or your job as a parent. Now that you’re at home more, try adding simple self-care activities into your days.

One great form of self-care is to meal prep. Even if you’re only meal prepping for breakfast or lunch, planning meals will help you avoid dropping everything to make a meal for yourself or your baby.

You can also meal prep dinner to save yourself a few nights of cooking. By taking off the stress of cooking dinner after work, you can focus on spending time with your family instead. 

Other than planning ahead for mealtime, give yourself permission to actually “sleep when the baby sleeps” on occasion. This advance is given to new moms all the time but we’re not sure how many moms actually do this. 

And we get it...it’s much easier to get things done when they’re sleeping. But sometimes taking care of yourself is more productive than checking off the next task on your to-do list. If you can’t settle down for a nap with your baby, try enjoying some downtime while relaxing with them as they play or eat. 

Also...if you don’t plan on sleeping when your baby sleeps, plan some self-care into their nap time instead. Get refreshed with a simple home facial or manicure. This might also be the perfect time to fix that messy mom bun into a neater mom bun.


5. Create Some Space

With “stay-at-home” orders in place, creating personal space in your home is probably unrealistic. So, we’re not suggesting that you separate yourself from your kids (even though we wouldn’t judge you if you did).

However, many people new to working at home underestimate how important having your own workspace is. If you have the room and tools to do so, create a special workspace for yourself.

Add trinkets and photos that keep you inspired on the challenging days. 
Whatever you do, just remember to take care of yourself.  

Working from home with kids can naturally cause increased stress levels. And that stress will trickle into the relationships you have with your family. But, by implementing a little self-care each day, you help to create more balance for yourself and prevent the high levels of stress #wfhlife can cause. 

So, throw the idea of being the perfect work from home parent out the door. And, instead...


Take care of yourself and your family.
Be open to change.
Do the best you can.
Don’t be so hard on yourself.
Remember that you are resilient.

And most importantly, remember the learning curve applies to your children as well. Even if they can’t quite put it into words, the changes brought on by COVID-19 have an impact on their little lives too. 


So be kind to yourself and your kiddos. You’re all in this together.

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