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casheroo's avatar

Velveteen Rabbit: Do all the toys really need to be burned?

Asked by casheroo (18091points) July 9th, 2010

I’m curious about this.

I had Scarlet Fever as a child, and I remember my mother forcing me to throw out all my lovies, all my stuffed animals. I cried and I still don’t think I’m over it. And then when I got strep throat (at around 9) I came out of the tub to find that she had thrown out my new lovey. It was a heart shaped pillow, I even tried to find it in the trash!

Is this really necessary when a child gets ill? I’m not really old (24 today!) so I assume that maybe it was the norm “back in the day” but with hot water washing machines, can’t it just be washed? Is that not enough?
Was this a common practice?

My little boy is sick, not with anything serious, I’m already gathering all the linens and blankets to be washed, and it’s like a Lysol bomb has gone off so the other little guy doesn’t get sick as well.

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21 Answers

janbb's avatar

Just wash it in hot water; should be fine.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

No they don’t need to be burned. I also had Scarlet Fever way back when and we just immediately washed all the linens and the stuffed toys sat outside for a few days in the sun, they didn’t even go in the washer. None of our furniture had to be disposed of either.

casheroo's avatar

@janbb Oh, I know, I think I more meant…why was it ever necessary? Maybe my mother was just a meanie.

Randy's avatar

I think it mostly depends on the illness although I have no examples.

And a happy birthday to you!! =)

wilma's avatar

@casheroo I think your mom was just being overly cautious.
My mom didn’t burn anything when I had scarlet fever or strep throat. But she did clean and wash everything. Like @Neizvestnaya said a few hours in the sun should help.

AmWiser's avatar

Your mom was just being extra cautious. It may have been the way she was brought up. You can call the health department in your area to find out how you should disinfect. But I would think a good hot water washing and disinfectant spray will be just fine.

gondwanalon's avatar

Soaking stuffed toy animals for a few hours in a 10% bleach solution should kill the pathogenic bacteria and viruses. Bleaching may also kill the looks of the toy but that may be far better than burning them.

vbabe96's avatar

My mom cleaned like a mad woman every time we had anything.Of course there are seven of us. I remember my mom making me sleep on a pool toy in the living room, so I wouldn’t infected my sister. In the morning she would take the raft outside and it would set in the sun all day.

DominicX's avatar

People burn toys when kids get sick?

This is the first time I’ve heard about this. Now, as a kid, none of us (me and my 3 siblings) ever got anything worse than a flu (at least when we were out of the toddler ages), but that still seems extreme. Certainly nothing like that was done for a flu, nothing was even washed. If you touched a doorknob, you were probably going to spread it. I actually avoided getting a cold from my brother a few times by deliberately not touching any doorknobs directly (usually through a shirt or a cloth). I really think that was part of the reason. :)

casheroo's avatar

@DominicX Have you never seen The Velveteen Rabbit?!

DominicX's avatar

I guess not. :( I’ve heard of it all my life, but I’ve never read the book. I think my mom even said that to me once: “don’t you know the Velveteen Rabbit?” and I’m like “no, you never read it to me!” :P

NRO's avatar

To my knowledge active infectious bacteria and viral material have a very short lifespan without a living host. Your mother could probably have had your “loveys” steam cleaned and returned to you, but she probably did not know this. She meant well.

I do not know what a velveteen rabbit is, but if it is fabric and not alling apart, perhaps you should take it to the leaners.

jca's avatar

i would think for a kid, that’s like losing your friends.

casheroo's avatar

@jca It was. My mother made me just throw it out. I was seriously heartbroken. It was a Puffalump named Puffy. tears

Kayak8's avatar

The Velveteen Rabbit was originally published in 1922. We know a great deal more about disease vectors today than was known at that time. The book appeared before the polio epidemic and not too long after the great flu pandemic and a cholera pandemic and the mother in the story burned the stuffed animal on the advice of the physician at the time.

As indicated above, there are a number of other ways to clean children’s toys after an illness to limit continued fomite transmission of pathogenic organisms. Perhaps your mom read the Velveteen Rabbit and used it to guide her thinking on the topic.

jca's avatar

i have the book and i have looked at it, but i don’t believe i have ever finished it. i did not know that was what happened at the end. now i am going to read it.

jerv's avatar

@Kayak8 Around then, there were still doctors that rejected the germ theory and who did not know the value of handwashing, even before surgery. Besides, we all know that fire purifies everything :D

Kayak8's avatar

@jerv Ah, yes, the miasma theory!

sleepdoc's avatar

You have to remember that historically these things were very poorly understood. Back at the time of the plague, they would burn and entire house in some cases. We have made some progress in that regard. But in the days of the settlers they understood better safe than sorry. If you had something that killed someone in your family, they knew you didn’t want anyone else to get it. Since there wasn’t bleach and antibiotics burning was the answer. It really wasn’t until post WW II that this stuff started to get explained, understood and cured.

jerv's avatar

@sleepdoc Actually, it wasnt’ until around WWII that we actually had a cure for anything. Before that, medicine was pretty much palliative at best.

goodmoodgirl's avatar

Do yourself a favor, you deserve it…. replace your lovies it will help mend the wound. I can almost guarantee that every lovie you had and lost can be purchased on ebay.. if you have problems locating them.. send me the descriptions and I would be more than happy to help to locate replacements.

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