Whether you're new to the world of parenting or an old player, paranoia is your constant companion. Following your children's trail and making sure than nothing that passes your vigilant eye reaches their mouth, you can play detective 24*7 for weeks, months and years together! What your children eat is something you wish to monitor and you can go to great lengths to achieve just that. What you don't realize is that you are a parent and not a spy. You can't follow your children around everywhere just to ensure that they don't put any 'suspicious' items inside their curious little mouth.
Germs of every kind are present almost everywhere and you can do little to control them. Children are more susceptible to all kinds of bacteria, viruses and the likes and so being sensible as a parent is essential. However, obsessing over each step your child takes might prove to be just as unhealthy for your child. The only good coming out of it is that you give a change to certain companies to make profits even without adequate marketing! So, stop giving hand wash companies the money they don't deserve and let your child breathe even if it is germ filled air!
Giving their children a cushioned and safe environment is what parents dream. The reality is far from this dream which is nothing but a consolation for parents. Several studies and in depth research have proved that children need to be exposed to every kind of environment- whether or not germ free- since that actually enhances their immunity. The study even has evidence in its support. It states that a minor percentage of viruses and organisms that are gastrointestinal do not necessarily cause any harm but may shield your child against allergies, asthma and eczema.
This is not to say that you should let your children eat garbage instead of food, but if they do swallow mud then don't die of a panic attack!
Sometimes, selective and controlled exposure to such contaminated environment can actually help your child develop immunity against infections at a later stage. Think of it like vaccination which is mild form of the disease causing micro-organism which brings the onset of anti bodies from the immune system to counter diseases like polio, hepatitis and measles. Not all bacteria or viruses are bad for your children and certainly not so in a controlled environment which can be monitored as per convenience.
The fact remains that children will be children while parents will be parents. As far as your children go, their health is your primary concern and it should be that way. The only thing is that you need to relax and pay attention to what is actually good for your child rather than being blinded into believing all sorts of myths and beliefs that are circulating.
Nothing works better than your gut and instinct which would never endanger your child knowingly. This said, you also need to learn to be patient and let your children face minor adversities in order to attune themselves to the actual life away from a completely sheltered environment. Let your kid be what he is and wallow in dirt, who knows which good bacteria he might befriend!