Proper Handwashing Techniques for Child Care Providers

Everyone knows the importance of handwashing (ESPECIALLY child care providers), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we know how to wash our hands properly. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, more focus than ever has been placed on educating the community about how to thoroughly wash their hands to reduce the risk of infection.

When to Wash Your Hands

According to the Mayo Clinic, wash your hands before:

  • Preparing or eating food
  • Treating wounds
  • Caring for a sick person
  • Handling contact lenses

You will also want to wash your hands after:

  • Preparing food
  • Using the toilet
  • Changing a diaper
  • Touching an animal
  • Blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing
  • Treating wounds
  • Caring for a sick person
  • Handling garbage
  • Handling pet food or treats

How to Wash Your Hands

Thoroughly washing your hands should last 20 seconds (singing “Happy Birthday” twice) and consist of these steps:

  1. Wet your hands under warm running water.
  2. Apply and lather soap.
  3. Rub your hands vigorously for 20 seconds (singing “Happy Birthday” twice).
  4. Rinse well.
  5. Completely dry your hands with a clean towel.

Here is a handy (no pun intended) visual from the WHO that you may wish to print out and place in your bathrooms:

If no soap and water are available, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is an effective alternative.

And finally, don’t forget to teach the kiddos! Try this fun experiment to visualize what soap and water does to germs so kids will have an easier time understanding why hand washing is so important:

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Michael Keshen

Michael writes for HiMama's early childhood education blog and ECE Weekly newsletter. When not developing content for early childhood professionals, he can usually be found out and about with his wife and daughter exploring all that Toronto has to offer, or playing music with his karaoke band.

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