The responsibility for childcare staff to maintain the highest standards in hygiene calls for strict techniques for diapering in childcare settings. However, while many childcare facilities feel they are following diapering and hand washing best practices, hygiene can fall short. These proven techniques for diapering and handwashing in childcare will ensure your facility remains compliant while keeping everyone healthy.
Tips For Safe And Healthy Diapering
- Be prepared: Having a designated change area with supplies such as clean diapers, wipes, plastic bags, latex gloves, and clean clothes makes it easier to access everything you need for a quick and safe diaper change. However, these items should be near but not directly on the changing table. The table should be covered with a disposable covering. Nonporous paper works well. Put on your disposable latex gloves before you pick the child up and place them on the covered surface. Place a hand on the child as you work to ensure they can’t fall.
- Place soiled clothes in a bag: Remove the child’s clothing and place any soiled cloths in a bag so you can give it to their parents.
- Fasten the diaper. Unfasten the soiled diaper, leaving it beneath the child and over the disposable covering.
- Clean the child: Thoroughly wipe away the mess using disposable wipes, always wiping front to back. Pay special attention to all creases and cracks in the child’s skin to ensure you clean everything away.
- Dispose of wipes and diaper: Place the used wipes in the soiled diaper and roll it all up and place it in a lined, covered trash can.
- Remove gloves: Take off your gloves carefully by grabbing one glove from the middle and pulling it off, then sliding your hand inside the cuff of the other glove and pulling it down toward your fingertips. This allows you to safely turn the second glove inside out over the first glove so you can take them both off without touching the gloves with your skin. Throw the gloves in the lined, covered trash can.
- Clean you and the child’s hands: Wipe down your hands and dispose of the wipes, then wipe down the child’s hands and throw the wipes in the garbage.
- Put the clean diaper on: If applying diaper cream, use facial or toilet tissue. Then secure the diaper and dress the child in clean clothes.
- Wash the child’s hands: Once you are finished, you must wash the child’s hands again, but this time using soap and warm running water. You can help teach the child good hygiene habits by allowing them to help when they are of the appropriate age. Be sure you do most of the work to ensure washing is thorough. For younger children apply the soap, rub their hands together and then rinse the soap off completely before drying their hands with a fresh paper towel. Dispose of the paper towel in the lined trash.
- Return the child to the play area: When you put the child back in their play area, do not touch anything. You still have to do one final handwash before it is safe to interact with other children or touch anything.
- Clean and disinfect the diaper table: Use a spray bottle of soap and water to thoroughly wash the change table and rinse it off and wipe away the wet with a clean paper towel. This is not enough to disinfect the table. You must finish the job using a bleach and water solution which must remain on the table for at least two minutes. You can then wipe the surface dry with a paper towel or allow the surface to air dry.
- Wash your hands: Once all of these steps are complete you can thoroughly wash your hands with soap and warm, running water.
- Record the child’s diaper change: Keep a daily diaper change record sheet for each child and record each diaper change. Give the sheet to the parents when they come to pick the child up.
Remember that when changing several children’s diapers you MUST wash your hands and disinfect the diaper table after EVERY diaper change.
When Child Care Providers Should Wash Their Hands
Handwashing also plays a key role in keeping children safe. Without handwashing, childcare staff put themselves, co-workers, and children at risk for illness. It is easy to become busy when managing groups of small children. However, proper hygiene is a must. As a result, childcare workers should follow proper handwashing protocol in all of the following scenarios:
- Upon arrival at the childcare program
- Before preparing, serving, or eating food
- Before and after giving medication
- After eating
- After using the bathroom
- After changing a child’s diaper
- After helping a child in the bathroom
- After wiping noses, mouths, sores, or cuts
- After handling body fluids such as diarrhea, blood, mucus, or vomit
- After smoking
- After handling raw eggs, meat, or poultry
- After playing outdoors
- After touching or feeding pets or other animals
- Any time your hands look or smell dirty
You should also wash children’s hands when they are exposed to similar scenarios.
Tips To Make Hand Washing In Child Care More Effective
Effective handwashing childcare steps are important to stop the spread of germs. Childcare staff should follow these steps to ensure they properly wash away germs:
- Use liquid soap and warm running water
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday to be sure)
- Use disposable single-use towels to dry your hands
- Use hand sanitizers sparingly if soap and water are not available
You should also wash infants' and toddlers' hands for them using these tips:
- Use soap and warm running water
- If handwashing facilities are not available, use hand sanitizer but then use soap and water to rinse the hands as soon as possible
- Place the child in a safe area while washing their hands to avoid falls
Ensuring your childcare facility has a strict diapering and handwashing in childcare policy keeps the community healthy and safe. Special protocols in case of emergency situations must also be in place to ensure you are prepared for all possible scenarios.
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