Washing Hands in Child Care

washing hands in child care

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:

  1. 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. 
  2. Use liq­uid soap from a dis­penser. Soap bars har­bor bacteria.
  3. 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.)
  4. Scrub all parts of both hands. This includes thumbs, wrists, the areas between fin­gers, around cuti­cles, under fin­ger­nails, and the back of your hands.
  5. Rinse hands thor­ough­ly under run­ning water.
  6. Let water drain from wrists to fingers.
  7. Dry both hands with an auto­mat­ic dry­er or a new sin­gle-use towel.
  8. 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!

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