Everyone needs to wash their hands, especially caregivers who come in contact with children and the children themselves! Since we cannot avoid exposure to germs, we must do our best to prevent spreading diseases by washing our hands often and correctly in child care settings.
Our 5 clock hour (0.5 CEU) childcare course Sanitation for Disease Prevention in Early Childhood Programs is written for all types of childcare facilities (including family homes). In this cousre, we discuss how to provide a clean, sanitary environment to protect children’s health and the health of the child care providers.
One of the many things you can do to keep your childcare facility safe an healthy is to wash your hands. Frequent and thorough hand washing can drastically reduce the spread of diseases between staff and children and can protect the younger children who have weaker, less developed immune systems.
However, many of us do not spend enough time washing our hands and do not put much thought into this critical area of our lives! Even we were suprised by how long experts recommend that you should wash your hands to safely remove bacteria, dirt and germs.
Here are some tips for thorough and safe hand washing in child care for you and for the children:
- Wet hands under running water. Hot water is not necessary. Data actually show that warm or hot water does not remove more bacteria than cool water.
- Use liquid soap from a dispenser. Soap bars harbor bacteria.
- Lather both hands well and scrub them vigorously for at least 20 seconds. (This is about the time it takes to sing happy birthday twice.)
- Scrub all parts of both hands. This includes thumbs, wrists, the areas between fingers, around cuticles, under fingernails, and the back of your hands.
- Rinse hands thoroughly under running water.
- Let water drain from wrists to fingers.
- Dry both hands with an automatic dryer or a new single-use towel.
- For hand-held faucets, turn off the water using a disposable towel instead of bare hands to avoid recontamination of clean hands.
Washcloth hand washing is acceptable for children under the age of two years and for children with special needs who are not capable of washing their own hands. Use a soapy washcloth and warm water. Use an individual washcloth and towel for each child, and use each washcloth and towel only one time between launderings.
Sometimes children resist hand washing
…occasionally quite vigorously. However, hand washing is extremely important to insuring a child’s continued health and wellbeing and is not negotiable.
A child care provider should approach hand wishing in a firm, but kind manner. You should never punish or threaten to punish a child who resists hand washing. Simply make it clear in a positive way that everyone’s hands must be washed at certain specified times, like after outdoor playtime, after toileting, etc. Modeling good hand washing practices will also promote healthy life-long practices.
In Sanitation for Disease Prevention in Early Childhood Programs, we cover how to promote a healthy and clean environment for children in all childhood facilities. We’ve touched on healthy hand washing in this blog.
Do you want to learn more about health and safety for young children? Check out our blog on how to protect children from the sun while playing outside or take our course Managing Health and Safety in Child Care for a comprehensive review of health and safety in childcare.
Please let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1–800-685‑7610, Monday through Friday, 9–5 ET, or email us days, evenings and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!