For many children, entering childcare for the first time is the first instance where they are closely exposed to many other kids their age for a prolonged period. And while they will enjoy playing and learning, this is also the first time they will be exposed to an abundance of germs and bacteria, usually carried by their peers and the surfaces in the vicinity.
While many adults can easily avoid or overcome infections, such as the common cold, younger children will need to build up their immunity against it. As such, they will typically get sick quite often within their first few years of schooling as their bodies will be working tirelessly to combat new infections day in and day out. Though it is anticipated that there will be an increase in sick days, parents and childcare workers must be making the right moves to reduce the spread of infections, especially those which are known to breed well in childcare settings.
Thus, all parents must take precautions to ensure that the childcare centre is executing proficient and detailed cleaning, especially before and after mealtime, as this can help avoid spreading infections. However, it is essential to remember that children will pick up infections quicker at a young age, and it is not always avoidable.
Some common infections they are likely to bring home include:
The Common Cold
Categorised by a runny nose, a lack of energy and a sore throat, the common cold is typically the first illness many children bring home. Easily transmitted through touching surfaces, playing with others, or poor ventilation in rooms, the common cold will rarely cause serious symptoms.
But it is always best to isolate the child at home after symptoms are noticed to avoid transmitting to potentially immune-compromised students.
Parents should notify the childcare centre immediately after they have noticed their child’s symptoms, and a detailed clean should take place to avoid further infection in both children and staff. This should be carried out by wiping down all surfaces with a Disposable Hygen Microfibre Cloth. All cloths used to clean should then be disposed of, out of reach from children, in a wastebasket to prevent cross-contamination and keep other students safe from potential infection.
Most commonly spread through person-to-person contact, gastroenteritis results in diarrhoea, vomiting and dehydration. It can largely impact children, especially those of pre-school age and can have them on bed rest for up to a week if not treated. More extreme than the common cold, if a child is not hydrated during their gastro symptoms, they may need medical or hospital support.
As gastro is incredibly infections, parents should isolate with their child to avoid spreading it further into the community and their workspaces. Childcare centres should also ensure to tighten their handwashing protocols when a sick student is reported as this can avoid an outbreak or superspreader from occurring. All students should be encouraged to wash their hands frequently and properly. The most beneficial times to do so include before and after meals, after using the toilet, and after playtime. Students should be supplied with the appropriate Touch-Free Soap Dispensers and refills to kill bacteria and develop a greater chance of avoiding infection.
If food is prepared on-site, the staff and chefs should also use the appropriate PPE and food preparation tools to avoid any cross-contamination that may cause gastro viruses.
Though many childcare centres and pre-schools require students to get vaccinated, students can still pick up the chickenpox virus from outside sources and other students. Most commonly transported through the air and touch, chickenpox is highly transmissible and can create an uncomfortable experience for children. Parents should notify the daycare centre immediately if they notice their child is experiencing the symptoms of chickenpox. Parents should also isolate with their child if they are unvaccinated and have not had the virus before.
To prevent further spread and outbreaks, staff of childcare centres must ensure that all materials, such as sheets and blankets, are properly cleaned after each use and that they are not shared between students. Using a scissor cart or X-cart to collect this linen can keep these systems orderly and prevent anything from being missed. All clean linen should be folded neatly and stored out of reach to avoid cross-contamination.
If an infected child has attended the premises, wiping down all surfaces is a must. The facility should also open all doors and windows to allow the area to ventilate. To assist the sanitisation process and help remove microbes from enclosed spaces, fogging machines may be hired and deep cleaning implemented.
Passionate about keeping people infection-free
The team at Rubbermaid takes pride in their ability to design and manufacture tools, supplies and resources that can prevent the spread of infection and help to keep people safe. They have a wide range of cleaning and infection control supplies for childcare settings to prevent infection, reduce the likelihood of a superspreader event and keep children feeling healthy.
If you own, operate or manage a childcare facility, you can request a free sample of some state-of-the-art sanitisation products by contacting the team today.