Prevention & Recovery

How to protect your child from germs

By: Jennifer Villamere

Author: Canadian Living

Prevention & Recovery

How to protect your child from germs

By: Jennifer Villamere
Gooey little hands and sticky wee fingers can carry a lot more than the remnants of a finger painting session or a sticky chocolate cookie.

Germs are everywhere -- especially on your child's hands. By keeping your little one's hands clean, you'll be keeping bacteria and viruses at bay and helping to prevent illnesses, from the common cold to swine flu.

Here are some tips to make it easier to keep your child's hands germ-free:

Scope out great soap
Let children pick out their own soap at the grocery store. They can choose the colour and scent they like best. Many children love liquid soap because of its fun dispenser.

The rubber duck's not just for the tub
Why not invite bath toys into the sink to keep young children amused while they wash up? Hand washing isn't a chore when there are toys involved.

Singing is not just for the shower
Encourage children to sing their 'ABCs' as they lather up with soap. Older children can lather while they sing the chorus to their favourite pop song. This will help ensure that they are spending 15 seconds or more washing with soap - that's the amount of time recommended by Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to ensure hands are clean.

Throw in the towel

Children will love having a hand towel that's just for them. It could be their favourite colour, feature a beloved cartoon character or super hero, or it could be monogrammed. Make sure your little one uses their special towel to dry their hands thoroughly.

Keep 'em clean
Encourage children to practice good hygiene. Teach them to cough or sneeze into the crook of their elbow rather than in their hand. 'I believe I can cough in my sleeve' is a handy rhyme to encourage this behaviour.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Help your children establish a routine of washing their hands before and after meals and snacks, plus after going to the bathroom, playing outside or playing with pets. Children learn through example, so remember to model good behaviour by washing your hands often and thoroughly -- and why not sing while you're at it?

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Prevention & Recovery

How to protect your child from germs