25 answers

Bleach at Daycare

On Thursday my son came home from daycare with the sleeves of his shirt bleached. The next morning I asked the director about it and she said "Oh, the teachers wipe down the changing table with bleach between each child, they just must not have wiped it completely before they put him up there. They know they are supposed to wipe it, but about once a month this happens. Sorry." Am I overreacting to be upset about this? I am not happy that his shirt is ruined, but aside from that he probably also got bleach on his skin and that upsets me more. The director's relaxed attitude is also a little bothersome. Do any of you know if they are required to do the bleach thing because of health code or something? Is there a less toxic, more environmentally friendly alternative that I could suggest to the director? Thanks for your help!

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i worked in daycare centers before and the only time we used bleach was to clean mats and things like that when the kids were asleep. we couldnt even have it out while the kids were up. But we did have to use a sanitizing spray on the mat when we changed them. some amount of clothes stains are expected, paint, glue, ice cream on special days, juice, etc. bleach should NOT be one of them. Random fact for you, the USA is one of the few countries left that still has bleach as an over the counter legal substance. in other countries it is considered a biohazard and requires the use of gloves, a mask, and protective clothing. that stuff is awful and causes a ton of health concerns. I actually have a bunch of info that i have put together on health concerns and green benefits, etc. If you want, i would be more than happy to send the info over to you to print out and take to the director. i dont know how much good it will do, because cleaning with bleach is so cheap, but its worth a shot!

2 moms found this helpful

I wouldn't like this either and I do have a more environmentally friendly alternative, but any germ killer will be strong and children should be protected accordingly. You are welcome to message me for a link.

Just the fumes from bleach can be harmful. I wouldn't over worry this one time event but yes I would voice my concerns to the school.

2 moms found this helpful

They are using it with way too much bleach. I worked at a daycare and it is required but it is supposed to be two tablespoons bleach to a full spray bottle of water. At that concentration it wouldn't bleach clothes I know cause I've accidentally got some on my clothes numerous times. The director should know this I can't believe he wouldn't care.

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I'd be more concerned about your child's health than a shirt, and it sounds like that is the bigger concern for you based on your post.

Bleach is cheap and an effective disinfectant which is probably why it's used. They should be required or at least recommended by licensing to disinfect the changing table surface between each diaper change. In addition, the bleach and water solution should be 1 tablespoon (bleach) per gallon of water and should be left on the surface for a period of 2 minutes and then wiped dry or allowed to air dry in order to disinfect properly. If the solution is bleaching your son's shirt, not only is the concentration too strong, but it's likely that their procedure isn't really effective anyway.

But if they are using a bleach solution on the table you can probably bet that they are using it on other things as well including, toys, table surfaces, high chairs etc... that's a lot of contact through both fumes and potential oral ingestion. You'll find a lot of research indicating the dangers of using bleach, and you'll also find information stating the efficacy and safety of it.

People will probably bash me for saying so, but I don't believe that bleach is safe especially for children and there are other alternatives. If I were in your shoes I would gather my research and recommend an alternative or at the very least I would insist that they revise their current procedure.

Bets of luck!

4 moms found this helpful

Discuss it with them. Here in my county in Minnesota, we are required to use a bleach solution to clean diapering surfaces. No other solution is OKed by the health department. NONE. And we have to follow the rules. Even at the diluted stage, it can leave bleach over spray spots on my clothing occasionally, but rarely. I have never, in 13 years, bleached a child's clothing.

I would guess their solution is not correct. But first you would need to know the exact rule they are required to follow. Everyone can suggest alternatives (sprays and other product), but if their RULE (this is what the daycare regulations here are called RULE 2 or RULE 3 for centers or home care), if it says they have to use bleach, then thats what they use..but normally this is a diluted amount they must mix and maintain themselves and utilize properly (wiping the changing surfaces completely before putting another child on there, etc).

Have a discussion with them...don't let it go. Not only is it ruining clothing, there could be health repercussions at a stronger concentration.

Good Luck

3 moms found this helpful

Wow! I would be VERY upset. More with the lax attitude of the daycare with not understanding the effects of chemicals not only for themselves, but on little children. If it got on his sleeves, it could have gotten on anyones hands and then in their eyes, absorbed into their skin, etc. Personally, I have all of the chemical cleaners from my house boxed up and they are currently in my garage- I am on the verge of taking them back to Walmart and requesting a refund for chemicals that are posing health threats to myself and my children. I use Sol U Guard to disinfect at my home. Non toxic and kills 99.9% of germs including the H1N1 virus. I wish all parents would educate themselves and know that we all have choices and it is our responsibility as parents to make safe choices for our children. Streamlined, chemicals from greedy corporations only interested in making money is NOT our only choice!
HUGS and I hope you find a solution you can have peace with!

B.
www.livetotalwellness.com/themillers

3 moms found this helpful

I own a childcare center and stopped using bleach just for this reason. I use a different type disinfectant and we have had no problems. Bleach is great for killing germs, however if it is bleaching his clothes they are making the solution too strong. Not all staff measure they just pour in the bleach and I am sure that is what is happening. I would suggest to the director that she leave a measuring cup for the staff to be sure they are using the right mixture so it will do the job but not ruin clothing.

2 moms found this helpful

I wouldn't like this either and I do have a more environmentally friendly alternative, but any germ killer will be strong and children should be protected accordingly. You are welcome to message me for a link.

Just the fumes from bleach can be harmful. I wouldn't over worry this one time event but yes I would voice my concerns to the school.

2 moms found this helpful

I wish more day cares and schools would use a non chemical cleaning solution! There would be a lot less colds and sick kids. Bleach is terrible to have. It's bad to breath and really bad if it touches their skin. Here at home I use products from Melaluca. It uses tea tree oil which is a natural antibacterial. I use it to clean the counters, floors, bathrooms. It's great and my kids are never sick. There are also other non chemical cleaners too, but I can't think of them right now.

2 moms found this helpful

i worked in daycare centers before and the only time we used bleach was to clean mats and things like that when the kids were asleep. we couldnt even have it out while the kids were up. But we did have to use a sanitizing spray on the mat when we changed them. some amount of clothes stains are expected, paint, glue, ice cream on special days, juice, etc. bleach should NOT be one of them. Random fact for you, the USA is one of the few countries left that still has bleach as an over the counter legal substance. in other countries it is considered a biohazard and requires the use of gloves, a mask, and protective clothing. that stuff is awful and causes a ton of health concerns. I actually have a bunch of info that i have put together on health concerns and green benefits, etc. If you want, i would be more than happy to send the info over to you to print out and take to the director. i dont know how much good it will do, because cleaning with bleach is so cheap, but its worth a shot!

2 moms found this helpful

I work at my church nursery on Sundays and we have to use Clorox anywhere spray after every diaper change. Of course it gets wiped up before the next child is on.

1 mom found this helpful

My daycare uses a disinfectent on the changing table (not bleach, but i'm not sure what it is) and they use diluted bleach water to disinfect the utensils and toys at the end of each day. I would probably be a little ticked if i were you too! I've always used a solution of bleach and water to disinfect stuff at home so I think it's safe but my stuff is also rinsed very well and dried too. I would probably talk to the director.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm in PA and asked about this to. They can use PureGreen 24, but it is $65/gallon, so you'd have to buy it and bring it in. The nice thing about it is that it is totally non-toxic and (best of all) can be used on soft toys (like stuffed animals). Bleach only kills 99.5% of germs, PureGreen 24 kills 100%. There website is here: http://www.puregreen24.com/

That having been said, I think they just need to mix the bleach water properly at your son's daycare. I'm not terribly anti-bleach (I'm more anti-rotovirus, lol) but it does need to be used correctly. Which means allowing 10 minutes between each diaper change-- not usually all that feasible.

1 mom found this helpful

Technically things should be disinfected between diaper changes and such. But to use bleach may be an inexpensive way to cleaning but not the healthiest. I'd offer some alternatives and ask why bleach. Makes no sense. What if they forgot to rinse after the bleach use and the baby got it on his hands and then rubbed his eyes. I'd ask what the procedure would be for for that!

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HarrisburgPAChat
events and chat within 2 hour radius

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What about those Clorox wipes? They are just as effective but dont bleach clothes... hmmm I would have a discussion with them. The lax attitude is bothersome. Clothes arent cheap man. Just explain that you are upset that his shirt is ruined and that you would appreciate them to use something else or change him on something else if they are not going to wipe it down all the way.

1 mom found this helpful

They are using it with way too much bleach. I worked at a daycare and it is required but it is supposed to be two tablespoons bleach to a full spray bottle of water. At that concentration it wouldn't bleach clothes I know cause I've accidentally got some on my clothes numerous times. The director should know this I can't believe he wouldn't care.

1 mom found this helpful

I think they have to use bleach. It's suppose to be diluted though. I know my daughter's pre-school is allowed (by the health code) to use Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface Spray on the tables, chairs, desks, and toys.

1 mom found this helpful

I believe each state might have its own regulations as to what to use. I've looked up Texas' but it might be they all have pretty much the same thing. There are natural alternatives that will not harm the clothes and more importantly are safer for people (and your pets) not to mention the environment. It never ceases to amaze me that people use unnatural products for cleaning - when we have what we need from Mother Nature. And it maddens me to know that the government turns a blind eye and does little regulation not only with cleaners but others products as well.

Did you know that many of our favorite lipsticks contain lead?

1 mom found this helpful

YES! I would be concerned! I would be outraged! If it is strong enough to bleach clothes, then it is definitely too harmful to be around his lungs! Bleach fumes are TOXIC!! I would be asking them to use something more environmentally and child friendly that is SAFE for all. Health code makes them disinfect the surface (usually three steps: wash, rinse, disinfect) in between changes. I don't think they can (or would) stipulate exactly what they use. You are your son's advocate - good for you for standing up for him!!

1 mom found this helpful

Well every state has their own codes. But I can tell you that it is required in most states. I understand how you feel. I use a ton of bleach in my daycare and no matter how hard I try, I keep ruining my own clothes. Please rest assured that the bleach doesn't hurt a thing and my skin is no worse for the wear.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm sure if you were to donate cleaning solutions you considered less toxic for them to use, they would gladly use it. But bleach is relatively inexpensive and effective for the purposes of disinfecting. If your child wasn't complaining of any sort of burning sensation on his skin, I would imagine that a little contact with bleach isn't going to hurt him. It's too bad that his shirt was ruined, but I feel that stains are a part of childhood. Since the daycare providers are the only adults who are going to see him in that shirt anyway when he's there, just have that be a daycare-only shirt. They know how the bleach spots got there and surely won't judge you for not tossing the shirt. Obviously, if this happens a lot, I'd be annoyed. But since this is the first time it's happened, I'd try to let it go.

1 mom found this helpful

There may be health code requirements – ask at your daycare. My church kitchen was using a solution 10X stronger than required because somebody misread the rules. I choked every time I tried to get close to the kitchen, so I asked them to review, and they found the error, much to everyone's relief.

I wonder whether the daycare staff would be open to information about bleach. There are many internet links that give warnings and alternatives. Here's one: "The main ingredient in chlorine bleach is sodium hypochlorite (chlorine added to lye.) Chlorine is toxic as a skin irritant, and by inhalation. Sodium hypochlorite can create poisonous chlorine gas if mixed with ammonia (which may be an unlabeled ingredient in some cleaning products) or with vinegar. Workplace safety data sheets warn that sodium hypochlorite may be a neurotoxin and cause liver damage. People with chemical sensitivities report adverse reactions to minute quantities of chlorine. Sodium hypochlorite readily combines with organic matter to form organochlorines which are highly toxic to aquatic life.

Less-toxic Alternatives
* Envirodesic - Hydrox
* Hydrogen peroxide - drug store dilution. Use 1/2 cup per wash load.
* Nature Clean - Natural Laundry Bleach (powder or liquid)
* Oxiclean - oxygen bleach
* Simply Clean - Oxygen bleach
from http://lesstoxicguide.ca/index.asp?fetch=household#blea

1 mom found this helpful

there is something else they use in my church nursery called basic G that is safer. I would be very angry if my child's clothes were ruined. Baby clothes are NOT cheap!!

1 mom found this helpful

Seems like they would have offered to pay for a new shirt. Are you saying he's come home with more than one ruined shirt? I'd definitely ask for a reasonable reimbursment. Unless your child has an allergy to bleach a little on the skin now and then probably wouldnt be noticed. Vinegar is supposed to be a germ fighter as well, you might suggest that they try it instead, its cheap like bleach. I'm sure they are trying to be cost effective, other cleaners are a lot more pricey. If they start buying the "good" stuff the rates will probably go up. Overhead sucks... but so does buying new shirts.

1 mom found this helpful

I am sure they have to clean/disinfect it but I doubt it has to be bleach. Bleach is a cheap pesticide and that is why they use it.

A great alternative is Sol U Guard (it is safe for kids, even for food surfaces).

1 mom found this helpful

I have an alternative for daycare centers to using bleach or other toxic disinfectants. PureGreen-24 is more effective than bleach since it does not stain, does not have to be rinsed and has a 24 hour residual effect against most Virus, Bacteria and Fungus. A true disinfectant, it is only $36/gal. and much less if purchased by case or multiples. Non allergenic and easy to use, it works on a cellular level and viruses can not build an immunity to it. More information and ordering on website PureGreen-24 dot com. I have been working to get daycare centers, medical facilities, gyms, indoor sports facilities and other high traffic areas to use this new, safe effective product especially as we move indoors for the winter. The CDC has reported monthly seasonal flu numbers as widespread in many states. Please help me pass the word and get PureGreen-24 into use. Thanks

The bleach solution is required. Be glad they are disinfecting the table, think about what might be growing there if they didn't. The solution is usually about 1 Tbsp. to a bottle of water. They may be making it too strong but it doesn't sound like it.

Inform the Director that if this happens again you'd like his clothes to be replaced.

I alway told my parents: Let them wear play clothes to my center and then if they get paint, bleach, markers, etc...on the older clothes and they are ruined it won't be a big deal.

you may want to suggest using Hydrogen Perxiode...it is a great disenfectant. It is not toxic, and hospitals use it instead of bleach. If it is good enough for a hospital, it should be good enough for a day care. I use it on just about everything...dilute it 50/50 with water, put it in a spray bottle, and use it on counters, floors, toys...even the toys they put in their mouths. google perxiode uses, and you will be quite surprised at all of it's uses. You can even use it as a tooth whitener!

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