Cleaning and hygiene practices in early learning centres should always be top of mind. With many children entering care services when their immune systems are still developing, vulnerability to common illnesses can be higher.1
Under the National Regulations and the National Quality Standards, providers and educators are required to implement and encourage effective hygiene practices. Follow the cleaning and hygiene best practices below to help keep children and educators safe.
Good hand hygiene
Maintaining good hand hygiene will help protect your students from illness. Handwashing can reduce respiratory illnesses, such as common colds, in the general population by up to 21 per cent.2
The best way to prevent the transmission of illnesses is by thoroughly and frequently washing hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Make sure you supervise young children to prevent swallowing alcohol or contact with eyes.
Help students to keep their hands clean by:
• Reinforce handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and thorough hand drying. Sing a song or rhyme to encourage students to wash their hands for the full 20 seconds. Increase monitoring to ensure children and staff adhere to these guidelines.
• Create a daily routine for children to wash their hands after using the toilet, before and after consuming food and after playtime.
• Place visual cues such as handwashing posters and other materials in highly visible areas.
Cough and sneeze etiquette
Cold and flu viruses are commonly spread through droplet transmission via saliva and mucus when you cough or sneeze.3 Help prevent this by teaching children to cough and sneeze into their inner elbow or to use a tissue to cover their mouth and nose.
Remind children to throw used tissues into the bin and immediately cleanse their hands with soap and water.
Through activities and play, younger children will typically make close physical contact with other children and teachers.
Effective environmental cleaning will ensure germs left behind on high-touch surfaces like door handles and toys are reduced, helping to break the chain of infection.
Using detergent and water followed by rinsing and drying is one of the most useful methods for germ removal as detergent helps to loosen germs before they are washed away with water.
Mechanical cleaning through physical scrubbing also assists in reducing the number of germs on a surface.
By thoroughly drying the surface afterwards, you make it harder for germs to survive and grow.
Disinfecting is the process of killing germs that linger on a surface after cleaning.
Disinfecting products should be given enough resting time on the surface to be effective. This time varies from product to product and instructions for each individual product should be followed to achieve maximum efficacy.
Use cleaning and disinfecting products that are safe for use around children.
Peerless JAL has a closed loop system that is great for use in childcare and early learning centres as it is safe to use and will not spill if accidentally knocked over.
Dishwashing and laundry products are the most hazardous chemicals used in childcare so using the closed loop system will help prevent spills and reduce the chance of injury.
Following best cleaning practice in early learning centres is essential for effective infection prevention and control. To help you achieve an efficient clean, shop our March Cleaning and Hygiene Sale today!*.
*All promotions and products are advertised in good faith to be available at the time of sale, however, unforeseen circumstances such as supply or delivery problems or unexpected demand, may occasionally result in stock unavailability. All purchases are subject to Winc terms and conditions of sale.
1National Health and Medical Research Council, 2013, “Staying Healthy: Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services (5th Edition)”, https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/staying-healthy-preventing-infectious-diseases-early-childhood-education-and-care-services#block-views-block-file-attachments-content-block-1
2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020, “Cleaning, Disinfection, and Hand Hygiene in Schools – a Toolkit for School Administrators”, <https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/clean-disinfect-hygiene.html#Safe>
3Duda, K., 2020, “How Germs Are Transmitted”, <https://www.verywellhealth.com/droplet-transmission-3956438>
4Victoria State Government, “Health and safety advice for early childhood education and care services in the context of coronavirus (COVID-19)”, https://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/department/covid-19/ec-health-and-safety-advice.pdf