Is handwashing really that effective?
Children come in contact with millions of germs throughout the day. Whether from the air, countertops or each other, that contact can easily infect them with illnesses as innocent as a common cold or something as serious as meningitis.
The Best Defense
With all the fancy sanitizers and antibacterial soaps that flood the store aisles, you might be surprised at the best defense against germs. It’s plain old handwashing with soap and water. No hand sanitizer. No antibacterial wipes. Washing with soap and water is a few minutes that can save you from certain sickness.
Proper handwashing is a life skill that will benefit your child throughout life. Here’s the right way to get a good handwash.
- Wash your hands in warm water.
- Use soap and lather your hands and wrists for about 20 seconds. Make this fun by singing the Happy Birthday song twice in a row.
- Be sure to scrub the areas between your fingers and under fingernails.
- Rinse and dry.
When to Wash
According to KidsHealth.org, there are times that handwashing is critical for everyone, including:
- before eating and cooking
- after using the bathroom or diapering
- after touching animals or family pets
- before and after visiting or caring for a sick friend or relative
- after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- after being outside
You’ll never be able to protect your child from all the germs and you shouldn’t even try to. You can, however, teach your child how to properly wash his or her hands. It’s a practice that may one day save their life or at least protect them from a world of preventable illnesses.
Learn about child health development at abcquality.org.
ABC Quality is a resource for South Carolina parents who have questions about child care and child development. Visit ABC Quality for child development and health information or search for a child care provider that participates in the state’s voluntary quality rating system. ABC Quality is a program of the Division of Early Care and Education of the SC Department of Social Services.
Making mud pies and practicing good personal hygiene are both important parts of childhood. Be sure your young South Carolinian enjoys plenty of both!
By ABC Quality Team on January 17, 2017