Regular, thorough hand washing is always important, but especially during a pandemic. Explore the tips and resources below to teach kids how washing hands makes a difference, and to discover creative ways to help your family make this crucial protective measure a habit.
My child refuses to wash their hands when we get home. How can I get them to use soap and water?
Standing at a sink and scrubbing for 20 seconds can be boring for kids. It’s normal for them to want to go play or relax immediately after coming home. Like all habits, it may take some time to get used to doing this. Until then, try making hand washing fun with brightly colored liquid soaps, soap dispensers that make fun shapes, or have a kid favorite scent. You can also consider reward systems and sticker charts.
Every time my child washes their hands with liquid soap, they tilt their hands and it runs into the sink. What can I do to make washing easier?
Foaming soap is a great alternative to traditional liquid soap. Once in hand, it stays put and won’t slide off if the washer tilts their hands. It's also a great way to make washing more fun for young kids
Should I worry about washing my baby’s hands?
You should wash your infant’s hands at the same times you would wash your own such as before they eat, after a diaper change, and after arriving home from an outing. You can also use disposable wipes for cleaning infant hands. Try the three towel method for washing infant hands. The first towel is damp and soapy, the second is damp for rinsing, and the third is for drying. Have all towels prepared before beginning.
There are so many different types of hand sanitizer and soap at the store now, how do I know which one to buy?
Check sanitizer bottles for the words “alcohol” or “alcohol-based”. Then look for a percentage listed on the active ingredients list of at least 60%. This will ensure you get the best sanitizer for stopping the spread of COVID-19. For hand soap, there is no evidence suggesting you must use one labeled “antibacterial”. Any soap used for 20 seconds with warm water should work for COVID-19.
I can’t find any hand sanitizer in store, can I make my own?
The US Food and Drug Administration currently does not recommend making your own hand sanitizer. Homemade sanitizer may be ineffective or cause skin irritation. Many stores other than grocery stores and pharmacies now carry sanitizers such as office supply stores. Check around at less conventional stores for sanitizers if your local grocery store is out of stock.
With all of the hand sanitizer and lack of play with other children, will my child’s immune system be compromised? How can I make sure their immune system is maintained?
While this is a theoretical risk, there is no evidence to suggest that a short-term boost in hand washing reduces immune function. The same is true of social distancing, which has also not been shown to directly decrease immune function. The best way to promote a healthy immune system is to promote healthy habits such as a balanced diet and regular exercise.
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