Instilling proper hygiene practices in children from an early age will help them establish good hygiene habits that will remain with them throughout their lives. Abdulhadi Chalak, Country Manager, Boecker® UAE highlights the importance of nursery hygiene and Boecker®’s role in ensuring that hygiene is taught as early as possible.
Teaching children basic habits like the right coughing and sneezing etiquette and how to properly wash their hands, using soap, warm water and disposable paper towels, can help curb the spread of infections that are usually transmitted through direct contact with others, contaminated surfaces, or airborne droplets from coughing and sneezing. As the immune system of children attending day care centres is still developing, they are at a higher risk of catching an infection whenever they are in a group setting, sharing toys and coming into contact with others during play time.
Research shows that children catch infections whether or not they attend child care centres (Nesti & Goldbaum, 2007). However, the same study also reveals that children who attend day care centres are three times more at risk of acquiring infections -- especially colds and diarrhoea -- than children who don’t. The main reason for the transmission of illnesses is the inevitable direct and indirect contact between children and their environment. Other factors include:
- The personal hygiene and health status of the caregivers and the children.
- The condition of the facility (i.e. environmental sanitation, space and quality, food-handling practices, policies for attendance, etc.).
- The characteristics of infectious agents that determine their potential to spread in a group setting.
Boecker® and the CIEH - Chartered Institute of Environmental Health - UK - joined their expertise to provide the Safe ChildCare™ programme, the most specialised and comprehensive certification programme for nurseries, kindergartens and pre-schools, that tackles infants’ and children’s safety.
The Safe ChildCare™ programme comprises:
- Regular audits conducted by qualified consultants to assure the day care centre’s compliance with the Safe ChildCare™ standards. These audits target different parts of the day care centre including all safety aspects of the facility, documentation, well-being of children, food safety practices, etc.
- Infection Control Plan™ including routine disinfecting treatments using EPA registered safe disinfectants and the most up-to-date equipment to make sure that all spaces and items, especially hard-to-reach areas, are treated.
- Staff training on children’s safety and wellbeing.
- Parents’ awareness session in order to engage parents in the day care centre’s efforts to assure the best for children’s development.
Best practices in hygiene for child care facilities include:
- Ensuring that care providers are implementing proper personal hygienic practices and frequently segregating and disinfecting shared items in classrooms.
- Ensuring a clean and sanitized environment, from clean toys to clean beddings and playgrounds, to avoid the occurrence of outbreaks.
- Following a proper cleaning and disinfecting schedule in all the facility, especially in critical areas like diaper changing stations and restrooms, which should be disinfected after each use.
- Applying a safe and effective disinfectant, as instructed and for the required time period.
- Separating equipment used for cleaning different areas (i.e. bathroom, classroom, etc.) by colour-coding them in order to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
- Being extra cautious about the proper segregation, storage and handling of food items during the different times of the day in order to avoid cross-contamination and food poisoning incidents.
- Preparing baby bottles as per food safety practices to make sure that safe milk is provided for infants and toddlers.
Boecker® recently signed an agreement with Kids First Group in Dubai, UAE to implement the Safe ChildCareTM (SCCTM) programme. The nurseries under Kids First Group are the first to adopt and implement the SCCTM programme in the country, paving the way for increased attention and dedication to the well-being of the children.
It also reflects the group’s leading position and unwavering commitment to delivering the highest quality standards and ultimate protection for children. Under this agreement, Boecker® delivers regular audits to assess the group’s compliance with health and safety requirements and hygiene matters inside each premises. The company will also provide relevant training sessions for child care practitioners and parent awareness sessions – both of which are approved by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) -- in addition to disinfecting treatments through a year-round Infection Control Plan™ to ensure a germ-free environment. The annual certification is intended to make Kids First Group fully compliant with international standards and to ensure the full protection of children’s health, safety and development.