Where germs like to hide in your home

38232560_SAre germs lurking in your home? Check out five areas in most homes that bacteria and viruses are most commonly found — and how you can banish them before they make you sick:

1. Door knobs and handles. Wipe those down with a disinfectant wipe frequently. Any surface that is used by the whole family should be disinfected regularly, including toilet handles, phones, microwave and refrigerator handles and salt and pepper shakers. Don’t forget the TV remote and computer keyboard!

2. Kitchen counter tops and cutting boards. Make sure you are disinfecting any surfaces that you’re using to prepare food. Don’t forget to sanitize your kitchen sink — the bottom, the sides and the strainer.

3. Kitchen sponges and dish cloths. Because they are damp, they pick up germs easily and when you wipe your counters, you spread them. Soak your sponge or dish cloth in a bleach solution frequently. Or microwave your sponge for one minute to zap germs and wash and dry dish clothes using the hot setting in your washer and dryer.

4. Toothbrushes and toothbrush holders. Consider replacing toothbrushes more frequently during the winter months — especially after you’ve been sick — and disinfect holders frequently.

5. Coffee maker and tea pot. Clean your coffee maker (check your manufacturer’s recommendations in the your instruction manual) at least monthly. If you keep a tea kettle on your stove with water in it, empty the water and thoroughly clean the teapot before refilling it.

Keeping your kids safe while they’re having fun

20085578_SDid you know that most accidents involving children happen close to home? Kids love playgrounds, bounce houses and bicycles, but they all can lead to serious injury. Here are some ways you can keep your kids safe:

Playgrounds. Each year, more than 200,000 children are injured on playgrounds nationwide, according to the National Program for Playground Safety. Review this checklist so you know what to look for before letting your children use playground equipment.

Bounce houses. Every 45 minutes, a child is rushed to an emergency room due to injuries from an inflatable house, or ‘bounce house.’ Think twice about letting a small child inside a crowded inflatable play area. Check out this video to see why the medical community is so concerned.

Bicycles, skateboards and scooters. If you’re riding anything at all with wheels, you and your children should always wear a helmet. Period. Accidents on bicycles, skateboards, scooters and while skating can cause a wide array of injuries, including catastrophic brain injuries.