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

Alliance for Consumer Education Survey Shows Dramatic Increase In Awareness

That Proper Cleaning Is Crucial To Preventing The Spread Of Germs

WASHINGTON, Nov. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- A newly released national survey of mothers found that keeping their homes clean was the best means of protecting their families from the germs that cause colds and flu. Likewise, there is a general recognition that toys can be a significant source of germs. The Alliance for Consumer Education's (ACE) nationwide Germ Study examined mothers' overall awareness of how germs that cause colds and flu are spread. It then assessed their views as to the most effective means of preventing and / or containing colds and flu. This is the second such survey conducted by ACE; the first was completed in 2005. While many of the overall findings in the two surveys were similar, there were some stark differences.

For example, in the 2007 survey 32% of respondents felt that keeping their house 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 home cleaning was the best means of protection against colds and flu. At the same time, 56% of the 2007 respondents said they clean the surface of their children's toys on a weekly basis. In contrast, only 44% of 2005 respondents cleaned their children's toys so regularly.

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

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

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

Since 2005, there has been a significant increase in the proportion of young mothers (ages 18 to 34) who say that the mother is the one who stays at home with a sick child (85% vs. 70% in 2005). Likewise, significantly more mothers 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 by International Communications Research (ICR), one of the nation's top ranked full-service market research companies. The studies were conducted in ICR's EXCEL Omnibus, a national, twice-weekly telephone omnibus service designed to meet the standards of quality associated with custom research studies. EXCEL uses a fully-replicated, stratified, single-stage random-digit-dialing (RDD) sample of telephone households. Sample telephone numbers are computer- generated and loaded into on-line sample files accessed directly by the CRT system. Respondents answering questions for this survey were women between the ages of 18 and 49 with children under age 18 living in the household. Between October 18th and 29th, 2007, a total of 289 women ages 18 to 49 with children under age 18 living in the household responded. In 2005, 257 women were interviewed between November 30th and December 6th, 2005.

The Alliance for Consumer Education (ACE) is a Washington, D.C. based nonprofit foundation dedicated to advancing community health and well-being wherever household and commercial products are used. For more information on ACE, visit

SOURCE The Alliance for Consumer Education
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