Whether you work in a school or a daycare, you probably understand the importance of keeping your immune system in prime working order. Whether you believe in high doses of vitamin C or regular trips to the gym, you understand the battle with illnesses you face as a childcare worker. There are many ways you can help keep the students in your classroom healthy and save the children, and yourself, from too many sick days this year.
This one applies to children and adults within your facility. By regularly washing hands with warm, soapy water for 15-20 seconds, risk of disease can be greatly diminished. Up to 80 percent of infectious diseases are passed through touch, so the more time your hands spend under hot water, the safer you and your students will be.
A good tip is to teach children to sing the full “Happy Birthday” song twice while washing their hands to ensure an appropriate amount of time spent scrubbing. It is especially important to reinforce washing hands after using the bathroom as well as before and after eating. If hand washing is not available, have an alcohol based hand sanitizer ready for children. It is not the preferred method of cleaning but it is distinctly better than nothing.
Clean, Disinfect and Sanitize
As a childcare worker, you most likely understand the importance of keeping a clean classroom. But there can be huge differences between merely cleaning your room and fully sanitizing it. Cleaning is mostly referring to the removal of visible dirt or grime from an object. Disinfecting kills and removes any germs found on the surface level, which can greatly reduce spread of infection. Sanitizing is the ultimate method that will remove all germs to a safe level and deter disease from spreading.
All toys or play areas used frequently should be sanitized on a daily basis as recommended by the CDC. Especially in childcare classrooms where infants or toddlers are putting toys in their mouth, sanitizing is crucial to keeping all students and teachers safe and healthy.
Send Children Home
This can be the hardest rule to adhere to. Many childcare workers are concerned parents will be upset to be called out of work to take their children home; however, this is the most valuable method you can learn when working with children.
Any child with a high fever or visibly contagious illness should be sent home immediately. Children within the classroom should also be reminded to keep their personal belongings to themselves and not share with others. It may be an inconvenience to the parents when children must go home, but it can help prevent the entire classroom passing an illness back and forth and making the teachers sick as well.