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Health and Environmental Issues for Children Under Six

Practicing Good Hygiene


It's cheap, it's painless and it's the most important thing to prevent the spread of illness!

When to wash hands

  • Before eating;
  • After sneezing or coughing;
  • After playing outdoors;
  • After playing with pets; and
  • After using the toilet

Steps to Successful Handwashing

  • Use warm, running water and a mild liquid soap.
  • Wet your hands and apply a small amount of soap.
    Rub hands together for about 15 seconds. Scrub all of the hand, including between fingers, under nails, and on top.
  • Rinse under running water.
  • Dry with clean disposable or single use towels.
  • Turn off the water tap using the towel.
  • Throw out the used towel.

Other thoughts on handwashing

  • Wash hands after diapering a child, helping a child to use the toilet, or assisting a child to wash his hands.
  • Wash hands after playing outside or after handling shoes.
  • Wash hands if they look dirty.
  • Use liquid soap in a stable container. Bar soap can create a pool of water or slip onto the floor.

The Handwashing Song

Wash hands for about the time it takes to sing this song.
(Use the tune to "Row, Row, Row Your Boat")

Wash, wash, wash your hands
Play our handy game
Rub and scrub and scrub and rub
Germs go down the drain. HEY!

Wash, wash, wash your hands
Play our handy game
Rub and scrub and scrub and rub.
Dirt goes down the drain. HEY!

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Diapering A Baby

The diaper changing area is a primary place where germs can grow and spread!

Before you begin

  • Have one central place for changing diapers that is not a place of eating or preparing food.
  • Have a sink within easy reach.
  • Keep all extra clothing and supplies close at hand.
    • Diapers
    • Disposable covering for the changing area
    • Disposable wipes
    • Plastic bags for soiled clothing
    • Disposable gloves (optional)
    • Ointments or lotions as needed
    • Disinfectant or bleach solution
    • Paper towels
    • Trash can with a plastic liner and lid

Diapering a child

  • Lay the child on the disposable covering.
  • Remove the diaper and any soiled clothing.
  • Clean the diaper area of the child with a premoistened wipe or damp, single-use towel.
  • Remove the disposable cover and throw it away. Place soiled clothing in a plastic bag.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Put on a clean diaper and (if needed) clean clothes.
  • Wash the child's hands with soap and running water.
  • Place the child in a safe environment.

After diapering

  • Wash your hands.
  • Disinfect the diapering surface and any equipment, supplies, bedding, or toys that were soiled.
  • Wash you hands.

Other thoughts

  • Diapering time is a good time to give the child some individual attention by singing or talking to the baby.
  • Do not scold a child or show disgust for a loose stool incident.

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