Nationwide Survey Reports that Mothers View Cleaning Homes and Toys as Essential to Preventing Colds & Flu

Tuesday, November 27, 2007 General News
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 26 A newly released national survey ofmothers found that keeping their homes clean was the best means of protectingtheir families from the germs that cause colds and flu. Likewise, there is ageneral recognition that toys can be a significant source of germs. TheAlliance for Consumer Education's (ACE) nationwide Germ Study examinedmothers' overall awareness of how germs that cause colds and flu are spread.It then assessed their views as to the most effective means of preventingand / or containing colds and flu. This is the second such survey conducted byACE; the first was completed in 2005. While many of the overall findings inthe two surveys were similar, there were some stark differences.

For example, in the 2007 survey 32% of respondents felt that keeping theirhouse clean was the most effective means of protecting against colds and flu.This was the Number One response. In 2005, only 23% of respondents felt homecleaning was the best means of protection against colds and flu. At the sametime, 56% of the 2007 respondents said they clean the surface of theirchildren's toys on a weekly basis. In contrast, only 44% of 2005 respondentscleaned their children's toys so regularly.

"The ACE 2007 Germs survey clearly illustrates that mothers understand thethreat of exposure to those germs that can cause colds and flu and are takingsteps to minimize that threat and protect their families," said Joseph M.Healy, Chairman of the Board, Alliance for Consumer Education. "One of thesimplest, most effective things that people can do to minimize the risks fromgerms is to frequently wash their hands and clean their homes and places ofwork on a regular basis. It is gratifying to see that the percentage of momswho recognize the importance of home cleaning continues to rise. At the sametime, still more consumer education needs to be done to continue raisingoverall awareness of the importance of home cleaning."

Other findings from the 2007 Germ Study include the fact that 92% ofmothers gave themselves either an "A" or "B" with regard to teaching germcontrol. At the same time, 42% of mothers believe that their children will getsick no matter what they do, up from 30% in 2005. When their children do getsick, 62% of mothers gave their kids some type of home remedy, such as chickensoup, up from 44% in 2005.

The Alliance for Consumer Education (ACE) is a foundation dedicated toadvancing community health and well-being. ACE brings together a broad base oforganizations to work together for the consumer. All ACE programs fall withintwo categories, Public Health and Product Stewardship. Starting in 2007, ACEwill be conducting its Germ Study on an annual basis. "We think it isimportant to track how primary care givers, primarily mothers, view the riskof colds and flu and the steps they can take to minimize those risks,"continued Healy. "Based on this information, we can modify our educationprograms accordingly." To learn more about ACE's disease prevention programs,please visit

Since 2005, there has been a significant increase in the proportion ofyoung mothers (ages 18 to 34) who say that the mother is the one who stays athome with a sick child (85% vs. 70% in 2005). Likewise, significantly moremothers who are married or living together say the same (84% vs. 72% in 2005).In fact, less than one in ten fathers stay home with sick children.

Both the 2007 and 2005 Germ Studies were conducted for ACE byInternational Communications Research (ICR), one of the nation's top rankedfull-service market research companies. The studies were conducted in ICR'sEXCEL Omnibus, a national, twice-weekly telephone omnibus service designed tomeet the standards of quality associated with custom research studies. EXCELuses a fully-replicated, stratified, single-stage random-digit-dialing (RDD)sample of telephone households. Sample telephone

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