How Children Can Stay Safe, Part #3: Enhanced Hygiene
“Handwashing has always been the gold standard of illness prevention,” says Richard Peterson, Chief Academic Officer at Kiddie Academy® Educational Child Care. That’s why it’s the cornerstone of the Enhanced Hygiene principle of our Health Essentials initiative. We’ve increased our frequency and focus on handwashing procedures.
In recent posts, we’ve introduced you to the first two fundamental principles of Health Essentials, an expanded set of daily health and safety precautions based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and current licensing regulations. The four principles upon which the initiative focuses are:
- Wellness Education – Education is the first step to prevent the spread of pathogens.
- Healthy Environment – Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting throughout the Academy.
- Enhanced Hygiene – Implementation of enhanced handwashing and other personal cleanliness procedures.
- Symptom Monitoring – Keeping a watchful eye for illness throughout the day.
“Increasing the frequency and length of handwashing techniques will greatly reduce the chance of disease spread within an Academy,” Peterson says, echoing the CDC’s advice. “For handwashing to be effective, the children and staff must follow all steps below. Young children often skip steps, so it’s critical that handwashing be a supervised activity. In order to allow soap to properly remove germs, bacteria and viruses, hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds.”
Children and staff are encouraged to wash their hands frequently throughout the day, in particular at these times:
- Directly upon arrival
- When re-entering the classroom after exiting
- When hands are visibly dirty
- Before eating
- After using bathroom
- After handling trash
- After returning from the playground
- Before, during and after preparing food (staff)
- Before and after treating a cut or wound (staff)
- After cleaning the classroom (staff)
Enhancing hygiene doesn’t merely stop and start with handwashing. The staff at each Kiddie Academy facility is also required to wear protective gloves for activities that include serving food, changing diapers, helping children in the bathroom or wiping noses. It also involves other commonly prescribed practices, such as covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, avoiding touching your face and staying home if you’re sick.
If you’d like more information about recommended hygienic procedures you can implement at home, here are some good resources:
- How to reduce the spread of coronavirus – Harvard Gazette
- How to Protect Yourself and Others – CDC
- Stop the Spread of Germs – CDC (PDF download)
In our next Health Essentials post, we’ll talk about what we’re doing to increase symptom monitoring. Until then, here’s where you can learn more about the Kiddie Academy Health Essentials initiative and download information about it.
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