Come on, don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.  If you are anything like me, it is not only totally acceptable to let your children pick up dropped food off the floor and eat it, it is often necessary to avoid a meltdown!

In our house, my kids know to hurry up and retrieve their fallen food before our black lab slurps up an unexpected treat.  Our pooch loves goldfish crackers and fruit bars (he will actually eat almost ANYTHING) and will be there in a single bound if one of my kids drops their snack.  If Scooby does make it there first, tears are almost guaranteed to follow but if the kids get there quicker, then the treat is theirs to eat.

"It's only a matter of time," thinks Scooby.

“It’s only a matter of time,” thinks Scooby.

People often joke that food is still good and cannot be contaminated by ground-lingering bacteria if it is picked up within five seconds (hence, the Five Second Rule) but I’ve seen my daughter eat a cracker off the floor hours later and I’m completely ok with that.  I’m also alright with my kids eating a snack after it was dropped on the ground outside as long as we are not in a barnyard or standing over a pile of mud or something.  Hell, I still do this myself if the food is yummy enough and can be saved.

I’m just not that freaked out about germs.  I am diligent about making sure that my kids wash their hands regularly and I am cautious at the pediatrician’s office, which is frequented by sick germy fingers, but beyond that, I don’t give germs much thought.

I kiss my kids on the mouth without thinking twice.  It’s not a huge deal if my daughters share a drink with me or an ice cream cone and I admit that I have “cleaned” my baby’s pacifier by putting it in my own mouth on more than one occasion.

Am I grossing you out or can you relate?

Well, before you curse me out for irresponsibly spreading potentially harmful germs to my children, check out this NY Times article.  I might just be on to something with my lax germ mentality!

According to the article, there was a recent study in Sweden published in the journal Pediatrics, which showed that children whose parents used their own saliva to clean pacifiers were less likely to develop allergies.  This adds to already-existing scientific evidence indicating that some exposure to germs can be a good thing for our children and that overprotecting kids from germs can result in microbial deprivation which could prevent young immune systems from properly developing.

The article notes that there is no sure way to know if the saliva pacifier cleaning method was the direct cause of reduced allergies in the subject children or if parents who suck on pacifiers to clean them are also less worried about germs in general.  Either way, it’s an interesting study and lends an excuse to keep your house a little dirtier.  See, I knew there was a reason I haven’t mopped my floors in a while.

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