Keeping your little one healthy in child care facilities

Andrew Silva, 03 May 2019

There is much debate surrounding the link between hygiene and childcare centres.

For many, illness is a pending factor on whether or not parents send their children to childcare.  

Unfortunately, childcare centres have become synonymous with illness and infection. However, this is a very common misconception.

There is no doubt that children are more susceptible to infection and illness; simply because they are children.

The way in which they interact with each other means a subconscious transmission of germs. It is hard to control children placing their hands full of mucus, dirt and other germs into their mouth.

Yes, it is easy to remind an adult to cover their mouth when they sneeze. However, it is not so easy to make a child do so.

Per an educational study - it is reported that “children attending child care centres had 51 percent more episodes of infection, and 134 percent more days of illness than children cared for at home.”

- Australian Government Department of Health

Child care centres: to send or not to send?

As a parent, it is important to understand when sick is ‘too sick’ to send to childcare. It is also equally important to make an informed decision on whether or not you should send your little one to daycare if they are feeling ill.

Foremost, check your childcare provider’s policy on sickness; some are quite clear and outline when you should and when you shouldn’t send your child to childcare.

However, on a general note, if your child is suffering from a mild illness, such as a cold., sending him/her to childcare induces no threat; to them or others!

In fact, when one is experiencing a cold (either as a child or adult), the contagiousness of this illness has already passed - this is the body’s victory over the sickness.

However, if there is a yellow or green mucus running from your child’s nose, or there is a fever involved, this is more than just a cold and it is recommended that you see your local GP before making the decision on your own.

If you do choose to send your little one to school on an ‘off-day,’ it is important to voice your concern with the childcare and make sure your child's facility protects themselves against sick/infected children, by sending them home if they are not well.

When to keep your child away from childcare centres:

If your child displays any of the following symptoms, keep them home and away from other children until they seem well enough to return to their daily duties.

  • Fever
  • Uncontrolled coughing or wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bronchitis or influenza
  • Diarrhoea or vomiting
  • Any type of rash
  • Mouth sores which cause excessive drooling
  • Conjunctivitis

What causes infection in childcare centres & why they spread so rapidly:

Cause Description
  • There are both good and bad bacteria
  • The bad bacteria cause infection/disease
  • Examples of bacteria include: whooping cough, meningococcal, etc
  • Grow and reproduce in other living cells
  • Once they enter the human body, they multiply causing illness
  • Examples of viruses include: common cold, gastro, chickenpox, measles, the flu, etc.
  • Fungi live in damp areas and include mushrooms, yeasts and types of moulds
  • Some fungi cause disease
  • Examples of fungi include: ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, etc
  • Mites cause skin infestation
  • Examples of mites include scabies, insect bites, head lice, etc

Infection spreads rapidly because of the ‘chain infection:’

  1. The source of the germ
  2. The germ rapidly spreads from its source
  3. The germ infects other persons  

Preventative tips to implement at home & in child care centres:

Although they may not remember all the time. It is still beneficial to embed good personal hygiene habits in your child's life. These include:

  • Washing hands regularly - yes you tend to teach your child to wash their hands after they have been to the toilet. However, it is important to develop practices such as washing when they feel that their hands are dirty, before and after eating, after sneezing/coughing/blowing their nose and other activities including copious amounts of germs.
  • Cover mouth when coughing/sneezing - this is where many germs get spread without realising. It is important to teach your children to use a tissue and cover their mouth when they cough/sneeze, and wash their hands immediately after
  • Bypass contact with sick people - help your child understand to keep their distance from people who may be sick/coughing. This will help them remain alert and stay away from unnecessary germs.
  • Wiping a runny nose - teaching your child to wipe their runny nose will help reduce the number of germs spread. If they touch the mucus on their nose and thereafter touch other surroundings, it will only cause the germs to spread at a rapid pace.
  • Put tissues in the bin - all dirty tissues need to be placed in the bin. If they are found around the child care facility, it will only spread the germs to other children, as they will pick it up and use it themselves.

To parents: Research into child-care centre policies

It is important to take some time in researching the types of hygiene practices your child’s daycare has. Making sure that the child care centre is implementing procedures to keep away the bacteria and viruses is crucial.

Here are some policies you should keep an eye out for:

  • How frequently do the employees wash their hands? Educators should be sanitising/washing hands after most activities.
  • Are employees using gloves when handling diaper changes and other activities including high levels of germs?
  • Are there sinks in each room, for children and employees to wash their hands? If not, are they using sanitiser or going out to the bathroom to wash their hands.
  • Are there hand sanitizer bottles readily available in the rooms.
  • Are educators disinfecting toys at the end of each day? It is crucial that toys are sanitised and cleaned once a day to maintain cleanliness.

If you notice your child has the flu or has caught a virus, it is important to take precautionary steps to help minimise the spread and cure the cold!  

Teaching your children basic hygiene practices can make an immense difference in their everyday health as well as the children around them. Do not be afraid to ask your child care centre if they implement certain practices, as it is only going to benefit you!

Young Academics is confident in providing your precious little one with personal hygiene practices to help stay away from germs/diseases. We are strict on implementing a healthy and clean environment for your children, making sure they are free from the flu.

All our educators are qualified and informed about the procedures that need to be taken and make sure to teach them to your children.

If you are unsure about certain policies, need more information or guidance in sending your child to a clean and healthy child care centre - Young Academics is here for you!

Prepare your child and trust us in providing a safe and clean environment.

Enquire now or call us on 1300 668 993 (or even better, come in and see our facilities!).


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