Hand hygiene for infants and young children

Keeping children's hands clean is the best way to keep them from spreading germs. Young children need to be taught when and how to clean their hands.

It is important for children to clean their hands frequently, including, but not limited to:

  • After going to the washroom
  • Before eating
  • After coughing, sneezing or blowing their nose
  • After playing with shared toys
  • After touching animals
  • After outdoor activities

Hand hygiene techniques

Cleaning children's hands can be done by washing them with warm running water and soap or by using alcohol based hand sanitizers. Children may need assistance and supervision while washing their hands to ensure that they are washed correctly. 

Washing your hands

  1. Wet hands under running water
  2. Apply liquid soap
  3. Lather and rub hands for at least 15 seconds
  4. Rinse hands
  5. Towel or air dry hands
  6. Turn taps off with a towel or your sleeve

Cleaning Your Hands with a Hand Sanitizer

  1. Place a quarter-size drop of alcohol- based hand sanitizer in your palm
  2. Rub hands together, palm to palm
  3. Rub back of each hand with palm and fingers of the other hand
  4. Rub around each thumb
  5. Rub fingertips of each hand back and forth in the other hand
  6. Rub until your hands are dry (at least 15 seconds)

Washing a young child's hands

  1. Wet a paper towel with water and a small amount of liquid soap
  2. Rub child's hands for 15 seconds
  3. Rinse under running water
  4. Dry hands with a paper towel

Cleaning a young child's hands with hand sanitizer

  1. Clean your hands first using the method above
  2. Place a dime size drop of hand sanitizer on your own hands
  3. Rub child's hands until dry (at least 15 seconds)

For more information, call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744

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