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Teach your child to be a hand washing superstar

Child development

Did you know that hand washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness to others?

Many diseases are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. The simple act of hand washing can prevent 30 per cent of diarrhoea-related illness and 20 per cent of respiratory illness, including colds.
And in children under five years this percentage is even higher – frequent hand washing with soap and water can reduce the number of illnesses and infections by at least 50 per cent.
Showing your child how to wash their hands properly and encouraging them to wash their hands regularly doesn’t have to be a chore. For children, washing hands can be a fun and entertaining activity! And it’s simple enough for even very young children to understand.
Thirty seconds is all it takes, so hum a song and give hand washing a high five!
  • Wet. Wet your hands with clean running water.
  • Apply soap.
  • Lather. Rub your hands together to make a lather for at least 15 seconds. Palm to palm, back of hands and wrists, in between fingers and around thumbs, and don’t forget the tips of your fingers!
  • Rinse. Rinse your hands under well under running water.
  • Dry. Dry your hands using a paper towel or shake them dry.
Good hand hygiene prevents and reduces the spread of illness and disease. As a parent, you can help keep your family healthy by teaching your child a good hand washing technique, reminding them to wash their hands, and washing your own hands with your children.
Children should wash their hands before eating or preparing food, after going to the toilet, and after playing or touching animals or dirty things.
Once a child learns how to properly wash their hands, they will most likely happily teach their younger siblings and encourage them to wash their hands too, helping to keep the whole family healthy and happy.
Fast facts
  • The 840,000 germs on your hands at any given time spread up to 80 per cent of common diseases.
  • Germs can stay alive on hands for up to three hours.
  • Paper towels are more hygienic than dryers as they’re better at removing the residual water which spreads bacteria.
  • Your mouth is the main entry point for germs. Keep those hands away until you’ve washed them!
  • Antibacterial gel should only be used if you don't have soap and water.
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