Kids bring home germs from school, daycare and friends every day. Protect them and your family from the flu, colds, and more — teach them how to wash hands the right way.
Eight steps to pro hand washing
- Make it a group effort — Wash hands together when possible, either one-on-one or as a family. It’s great to teach life skills and habits when everyone’s doing it!
- Take off all jewelry — rings, bracelets and watches.
- Turn on the water faucet and get hands wet.
- Rub soap on all sides and in between hands, fingers (don’t forget your thumbs), fingernails, and wrists. Keep scrubbing for 20 seconds, or longer if very dirty. Kids can sing “Happy Birthday” two times to keep count.
- Rinse off all the soap under running water.
- Dry hands with a clean towel, air hand dryer or just let air dry.
- Wash often:
- After using the bathroom or changing diapers
- Before cooking
- Before and after touching raw meat, fruit, and veggies
- Before and after touching cooked food with your bare hands
- Before eating
- After wiping or blowing your nose
- After coughing or sneezing into hands
- Before and after touching your eyes or face
- Before and after being around sick people
- After touching trash
- After gardening
- After touching animals
- Teach kids about germs — Let them know that germs are the reason why people get sick. They’re so small that we can’t see them. They can spread from one person to another and make everyone sick. That’s why we wash our hands — to wash away germs!
What about hand sanitizer?
Kids should not use hand sanitizer without an adult watching them. It can be harmful if swallowed! It also doesn’t remove all types of germs.
|When to use hand sanitizer:||When not to:|
|In a pinch, if soap and running water are not available||When you can see dirt on the handsWhen hands are greasy or stickyAfter touching bug sprays or other chemicals|
Should you buy antibacterial soap? The answer is no.
Skip antibacterial soap and choose alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Using antibacterial products can make you become immune to important medicines. That means when you do get sick, antibiotics might not work.
Help your kids remember to wash hands when you’re not home — print some of these buttons and hang them around the house.