CHOP's Neat and Tidy Initiative reduces the risk of infection by limiting germs in patient rooms.

Germs are sneaky creatures. They’re pretty much everywhere and love to hide in stuff. The more stuff you have, the more places germs have to hide.

While most germs don’t do harm — and some are even good for you — other germs cause infection which can lead to illness. For sick children who are inpatients at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, it is critical to limit the chance of infection by limiting germs in patients’ rooms. That means limiting the stuff you bring with you when your child is hospitalized.

The Neat and Tidy Initiative strives to strike the balance between having personal items that comfort and entertain your child and keeping the Hospital room orderly. That allows nurses unrestricted access to your child at all times, and our housekeeping staff can easily conduct daily cleaning. The most important goal is to keep your child safe while he is in the Hospital.

If your child has a favorite blanket, pajamas and stuffed animal, feel free to bring them. Just be sure to wash them every week, either in washers and dryers on your unit or in the Connelly Resource Center for Families on the eighth floor.

We know the window sills are tempting locations for cards, flowers, balloons and parents’ personal items, but please resist. Your nurse will show you where you can display gifts, and personal items should be stowed in drawers and cupboards.

Your child may like to have favorite snacks that aren’t available through Room Service. Please bring single servings, keeping non-perishable food in a sealed container that you bring from home. For perishables, you may use the refrigerator in the nourishment rooms, labeling items with your child’s name and room number.

A housekeeper will be cleaning your child’s room around the same time every day. It’s very helpful if you allow them to enter the room at that time, if possible, to clean thoroughly. If you need to arrange a different time, please tell your nurse. Also alert your nurse or another unit staff person if your trash needs emptying in between daily cleanings. We want that trash removed as much as you do.

If your child needs to stay longer than 14 days, we will need to move your child out of the room for about 90 minutes so housekeeping can do a top-to-bottom cleaning. Your nurse will work with you to plan a convenient time and temporary location so this important infection control measure disrupts you and your child as little as possible.

All these Neat and Tidy measures help us keep your child safe so she can recover and go home as soon as possible.