Having an ailing child can be both mentally and physically straining for a parent as well as the child care center staff. In order to minimize the occurrence of diseases in children, inculcating good hygiene habits is vital, that must be retained throughout their life.
Children must be encouraged to follow simple preventative health care routine at home, and provided support to continue these habits while in child care centers. Hand washing is by far the most powerful preventative child health care measure that prevents microbes from spreading and keeps your children from getting sick.
What Is the Significance of Hygiene in Child Care Centers?
From the common cold to more serious infections, such as meningitis, bronchitis, a flu, hepatitis A, and most types of infectious diarrhea are easily acquired by children due to poor hygiene. While living in close proximity of several children and adults in a child care center, a child is at a higher risk of acquiring several types of infection.
In order to reduce the spread of infection, child care centers must exhibit good hygiene standards and promote preventive health care measures like proper hand washing regime.
How Do Germs Spread in a Child Care Center?
Children can unknowingly get infected simply by touching their eyes, nose, or mouth after contracting germs. Germs can spread in several ways including:
• Touching dirty hands
• Changing dirty diapers
• Through contaminated food and water
• Through droplets in the air (released during a coughing or sneezing)
• On contaminated surfaces
• Through contact with a sick person’s body fluids
Wash Your Hands to Combat Germs
Maintaining children health is a major goal of child care programs, and proper hand washing routine can help children at child care centers prevent the spread of germs and illness. Careful hand washing can eliminate as much as 90 percent of the microbes containing particles on the child’s skin. Thorough hand washing is the first line of defense to guard the children against the spread of several diseases.
Proper Hand Washing Tips
Proper hand washing is the best tool for a child care center to prevent the spread of illness. Child care service providers must ensure that every child and adult regularly wash their hands before and after eating, after using the washroom or any other activity that might cause the children to come into direct contact with germs.
Here are some key tips to make sure that child care centers promote the correct hand washing technique into their child care program.
Using Liquid Soap
Bars of soap tend to accumulate germs after being used by several users, and can contaminate other users.
Using Lukewarm Water
Warm water is more effective in removing germs than compared to cold water.
Scrubbing Hands for 20 Seconds
The best way to remove grime and germs is to scrub your hands together for about 20 seconds.
Using Disposable Towels
Encourage the practice of using disposable paper towels for checking the spread of illness in child care centers.
Using Hand Sanitizers
Apart from routine hand washing with liquid soap and warm running water, hand sanitizers can also be used sparingly.
Caring for Infants and Toddlers
Child care center staff must carefully wash hands of infants and toddlers themselves because infants and toddlers are incapable to follow the techniques independently.
Thus, a child care center staff can play a big role in assisting children with acquiring good hygiene habits through their experiences, discussing hygiene rules with them, setting right practices and giving positive guidance and support.
This can help the child to build positive self-esteem and get a feeling of satisfaction through learning new skills such as hand washing and drying. Child care center staff should always remain updated with prevailing recommendations from health professionals, for children’s hygiene, in order to ensure that their hygiene strategies are appropriate.
Reputable child care centers such as First School strive to promote preventative health care for children. First School proactively provides education and awareness about good hygiene practices like hand washing to children.
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Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and Child Care Programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child’s social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.