Say Goodbye to the Five-Second Rule

Are you a proponent of the five-second rule?

For busy parents, the five-second rule is typically standard operating procedure.  This is especially true for parents with multiple children.  Whereas firstborns usually gets a clean pacifier if their original hits the floor, by the time the third kid comes along, he’s lucky if mom wipes said pacifier before sticking it back in her child’s mouth.

Sound familiar?

Well, you may want to start thinking twice about following the famed five-second rule.

According to researchers at San Diego State University, if an item falls on the ground, it is not safe for you to pick it up and give it to your child to place in his mouth.


It doesn’t matter if the item was on the floor for two seconds, five seconds or 45 seconds.  From a contamination standpoint the damage is done the millisecond an item hits the ground.

In other words, according to health experts, germs win and parents lose when it comes to the great pick-up race.  No three strikes, no second chances; all bets are off.   If you don’t want to risk having your child consume potentially harmful bacteria, you’re better off saying goodbye to the five-second rule.

Scientists came to this conclusion following a study conducted with baby carrots.  The small vegetable was dropped on different surfaces, including a countertop, kitchen sink, table, and both carpeted and tiled floors.  Researchers allowed the carrots to remain on the aforementioned surfaces for five seconds, and then tested the kid-friendly veggie to see how many germs were present.  In the end, the countertop was found to be the dirtiest surface, with the carpeted and tiled floors following close behind.

When asked to comment about the study, scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that germs are everywhere and the best advice for parents is to clean surfaces regularly, especially countertops, cutting boards and utensils which come in close contact with food.  What’s more, experts at the CDC have an even stronger suggestion for parents in regards to keeping their kids healthy:  Wash your child’s hands thoroughly and frequently.

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About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.