21 Sep Three top tips we recommend to make hand hygiene fun
How to make hand hygiene fun for children
Simple things can make handwashing fun for children. If hand washing is fun then we are halfway to achieving good hand hygiene.
That’s great! It can help to reduce the spread of infections and illnesses.
But good hand hygiene should also be about encouraging healthy attitudes and behaviours.
We want children to practice good hand hygiene AND also enjoy positive behaviours like exploring outdoors in a safe manner.
We want them to experience the joy of digging in the garden or the delight of eating finger food; but safely.
If we focus only on a hygiene message it can become counterproductive – and not just depending on your choice of soap. (More on that in a moment.)
Protective parents can sometimes react to outbreaks of flu or other common infections by making children constantly wash their hands. But that can be problematic, as some children can begin to worry inappropriately.
This could ultimately lead to a child developing compulsive obsessive behaviour and wanting to wash their hands at every turn. So just as important as teaching children how to wash their hands properly is for them to learn when it is right to wash hands.
Tip 1 – outdoors hand hygiene
If you are out and about, here are a few simple steps to ensure that you and your little ones minimise the risk of nasty infections.
Animals can carry infections that can be contracted by humans, so yes, always wash your hands after touching or handling animals.
If you are visiting an attraction with animals, be sure to only eat in designated eating areas as well.
Animal farms and petting areas should have adequate handwashing and sanitation facilities on site. But what if you are going to be in the wilds of Scotland, and miles from the nearest facilities?
Carry a pocket sanitiser with you: but preferably one that is non-alcohol based. You see, alcohol gels can give a false sense of security – and are not as good as soap and water.
An alcohol pocket sanitiser can certainly be used as a backup, but alcohol gels dissipate very quickly and so they need to be used frequently: the alcohol can then dry a child’s skin so they are never suitable for eczema sufferers or children who have dry skin conditions. Instead, look for polymer-based hand sanitisers, as these contain ultra-low amounts or no alcohol and will last on the skin a lot longer.
If you are going outdoors then carry a small first aid kit so if there are any cuts or abrasions they can be covered with a waterproof plaster to prevent infection. Once back home, seek medical advice if the skin has been broken, especially from a bite or any sharps object (syringe, glass, etc).
Finally, the same rules apply when out as at home: always wash your hands after visiting the toilet and before eating.
Tip 2 Indoor hand hygiene
When you get home check shoes and clothes and clean off any obvious mud, or other contaminants. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
If you or your child does become ill after an outdoor excursion then seek medical advice as soon as possible and make the doctor aware of where you have been.
Don’t use antibacterial soap at home – where soap is left on the skin in a diluted form there is most likely to be bacteria too and this can increase the odds of bacteria developing resistant strains.
Tip 3 Remember foam is fun
Foaming soaps spread easier across the skin covering a much larger surface area much quicker, and it uses up to 90% less soap per dose of liquid soap so it saves you money!
The fun of using a dragon to dry their hands at nursery is also a reward for remembering the good hand hygiene routine. Talk to us today about the benefits it can bring you in comparison to other dryers.