This policy will provide guidelines for the procedures to be implemented at Elsa Macleod Kindergarten that will ensure:
- Effective and up-to-date infection control
- The provision of an environment that is safe, clean and hygienic.
- Refer to Quality Improvement and Accreditation System (QIAS), Quality Practices Guide 2005, Principles 6.2, 6.3, 6.4.
Elsa Macleod Kindergarten is committed to protecting all persons from disease and illness by minimising the potential through:
- Implementing and maintaining effective hygiene practices
- Implementing infection control procedures to minimise the likelihood of cross-infection and the spread of infectious diseases and illnesses to children, staff and any other persons in attendance at the centre
- Fulfilling the centre’s duty of care requirement under the Occupational Health & Safety Act 2004, the Children’s Services Act 1996 (26) and the Children’s Services Regulations 2009 to ensure that those involved in Elsa Macleod Kindergarten are protected from harm
- Educating staff, children and families that implementing the Hygiene policy is high priority and involves a shared responsibility between themselves and the service.
This policy applies to all staff, parents/guardians, children, volunteers, students on placement, committee and any other person involved in the Elsa Macleod Kindergarten.
3. Background and legislation
The spread of infections and illnesses within centres cannot be prevented; however, some methods of infection control can reduce the spread of illness and infection.
Infections are spread by:
- The infected person attending the centre and spreading the germ into that environment
- The germ surviving in the environment due to poor hygiene practices
- The germ being passed to another person and that next person becoming infected
- The cycle beginning again.
The implementation of appropriate hygiene and infection control procedures aims to stop this cycle and prevent the spread of infections at every step. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) suggest that the three most effective practices of infection control that can reduce illness in centres are:
- Effective hand washing
- Exclusion of sick children and staff
The NHMRC suggests that if these are not done properly, all other procedures set out in the policy will not be as effective in the prevention of the spread of infection and illness at the centre.
Relevant legislation may include but is not limited to:
- Children’s Services Act 1996 (CSA)
- Children’s Services Regulations 2009 (CSR)
- Food Act 1990
- Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
- Health Act 1958.
Cleaning: The process that removes visible contamination such as food waste, dirt and grease from a surface. This process is usually achieved by the use of water and detergent. During this process, micro-organisms will be removed but not destroyed.
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD): The state government department responsible for the funding, licensing and regulation of children’s services in Victoria.
Communicable disease: A disease capable of being transmitted from an infected person or species to a susceptible host, either directly or indirectly.
Hygiene: Principles of maintaining health and the practices put in place to achieve this.
Neutral detergent: Available commercially and labelled as ‘neutral’ or ‘neutral pH’.
Sanitising: The process that destroys micro-organisms, thereby reducing the numbers of micro-organisms present on a surface. This is usually achieved by ensuring a surface is thoroughly cleaned first and the use of both heat and water or by chemicals.
5. Sources and related policies
- DEECD, Children’s Services Guide
- Department of Human Services, Food Safety Unit
- NHMRC 2005, Staying Healthy in Childcare: Preventing Infectious Diseases in Childcare, 4th edition
- Victorian Government Department of Human Services June 2000, Sure protection against infection
- Administration of medication
- HIV/AIDS and hepatitis
- Incident and medical emergency
- Infectious disease
- Occupational health and safety
The committee is responsible for:
- Ensuring that all staff and volunteers are provided with a copy of this policy and have a clear understanding of the procedures and practices outlined
- Establishing staff, carer, student and volunteer induction procedures that include provision of information regarding the implementation of the practices outlined in this policy
- Developing an appropriate cleaning schedule that includes daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual cleaning requirements and responsibilities
- Arranging for the centre to be cleaned regularly, including floors and other surfaces, as per the cleaning contract and schedule
- Reviewing the cleaner’s contract and schedule on an annual basis
- Contacting the local council environmental health officer for information about obtaining a syringe disposal unit and instructions for its use
- Reviewing staff training needs in relation to understanding and implementing effective hygiene practices in early childhood settings
- Providing a copy of Staying Healthy in Childcare for the centre
- Providing hand-washing guidelines for display at each hand-washing location
- Ensuring there is an adequate supply of non-toxic cleaning and hygiene products at all times.
Staff are responsible for:
- Developing effective hygienic systems for cleaning, such as using colour-coded sponges/cloths in each area
- Ensuring sponges are rinsed out, stored separately and replaced regularly
- Inspecting the sand, tanbark, paths, car parks and grassed areas daily to ensure they are maintained in a safe and hygienic manner
- Informing the committee of any issues that impact on the implementation of this policy
- Encouraging parents/guardians to keep children who are unwell at home to prevent the spread of infection to other children
- Storing or presenting items, such as beds, bedding and sunhats, in such a way as to prevent cross-contamination
- Ensuring any chemicals and cleaning agents are non-toxic and stored out of reach of children
- Wearing disposable gloves when changing nappies or dealing with open wounds, and disposing of those gloves and soiled materials in a sealed container or plastic bag
- Maintaining the centre in a clean and hygienic manner throughout the day, such as wiping benches and tables before and after eating and cleaning up spills.
In terms of napping changing:
- Attending to individual children’s personal hygiene needs as soon as practicable (CSR r78)
- Changing nappies and attending to individual personal hygiene and toileting needs of each child according to recommended procedures (refer to Attachment 1, ‘Sample nappy changing and toileting guidelines’).
In terms of the toileting of children:
- Ensuring soap and drying facilities are available at all times when children are in attendance, including ensuring paper towels are available if hand-dryers are not working
- Ensuring children do not make common use of items related to personal care, such as hand towels for drying hands, toothbrushes and hairbrushes (CSR r78)
- Encouraging children to flush the toilet after use
- Encouraging and assisting (where required) children to wash their hands according to hand-washing guidelines (refer to Attachment 2) after toileting
- Encouraging children to tell a staff member if they have had a toileting accident
- Ensuring toileting facilities are maintained in a safe, clean and hygienic manner while children are in attendance; this requires periodic checking of the bathroom area
- Respecting diverse styles of toileting children due to cultural or religious practices
- Respecting the possible need to maintain privacy of toileting and dressing.
- For cleaning toys, clothing and the centre:
- Preferably purchasing toys that are easy to maintain and clean
- Removing toys that a child has sneezed or coughed on (place in a toys-to-be-cleaned box)
- Wearing gloves when cleaning (general purpose gloves are sufficient; wash and hang outside to dry when finished)
- Washing mouthed toys daily using warm water and detergent, if possible drying in the sun (note that many toys can be washed in a dishwasher if available)
- Wiping over books with a moist cloth with detergent on it
- Ensuring washable toys and equipment are cleaned term by term or annually as required
- Where applicable, washing mattress covers and linen.
In regard to children’s contact with one another:
- Educating and encouraging children in good personal hygiene practices, such as:
- Washing their hands after blowing and wiping their nose
- Not touching one another when they are cut or bleeding
- Disposing of used tissues promptly and appropriately, and not lending them to other children
- Using their own equipment for personal care, such as toothbrushes, hats, brushes and combs
- Touching only the food they are going to eat
- Using their own drink bottles or cups.
For the indoor and outdoor environments:
- Keeping the indoor and outdoor environments as clean and hygienic as possible at all times, including safe disposal of discarded needles/syringes (refer to the HIV/AIDS and hepatitis policy for guidelines)
- Promptly removing blood, urine and faeces (including animal), either indoors or outdoors, using the appropriate cleaning procedures (refer to the HIV/AIDS and hepatitis policy for guidelines)
- Covering the sandpit when not in use to prevent contamination
- Emptying water containers, such as water trays, each day
- Disposing of any dead creatures found on the premises in an appropriate manner.
- The parents/guardians are responsible for:
- Keeping their child/ren home if they are unwell or have an excludable infectious disease
- Informing the centre if their child has an infectious disease
- Supporting this policy by complying with the hygiene practices at the centre when attending the centre or assisting with a centre activity
- Encouraging their child/ren to develop and follow effective hygiene practices at all times.
In order to assess whether the policy has achieved the values and purposes, the committee will:
- Monitor compliance with the procedures set out in the policy
- Take into account reports from staff and others regarding the policy
- Monitor complaints and incidents regarding hygiene in the centre and assess whether satisfactory resolution have been achieved.
Attachment 1: Sample nappy changing guidelines
Attachment 2: Hand-washing guidelines
This policy was adopted by the Elsa Macleod Kindergarten committee of management at a committee meeting in October, 2012
Review: April, 2020
Sample nappy changing guidelines
These guidelines were prepared based on information provided in Staying Healthy in Child Care (2005), 4th edition, and Health and Safety in Children’s Centre.
- Ensure the nappy changing area is separate from food preparation and serving areas.
- Ensure that hand-washing and drying facilities are adjacent to the nappy change area.
- Ensure that staff wear disposable gloves when changing nappies.
- Display a waterproofed poster of nappy-changing instructions in all nappy change areas. (Provide multi-lingual translations as required and relevant for the centre.)
- Provide a nappy change mat or bench with an impervious washable surface.
- Ensure that a walking child walks to the nappy change area, and provide steps for the child if a bench is used.
Procedures to consider if providing care for under three year olds
- Have an adequate number of clean nappies stored within reach of the nappy change area.
- Keep all nappy change solutions, wipes, soiled nappies and clothes inaccessible to children.
- If using cloth nappies, use nappy covers where practicable. Ensure nappy covers are replaced at each nappy change. Wrap-around nappy covers are preferable to prevent the spread of germs to the child’s legs and feet when pulling covers down.
- During outbreaks of diarrhoea, use disposable nappies rather than cloth nappies.
- Preferably do not have staff who change nappies involved in food preparation on the same day.
Nappy changing for older children
CSR r78(1) requires children’s personal hygiene needs be attended to as soon as practicable; therefore, if a child is not toilet trained or soils their underclothing, the centre will need to ensure that appropriate facilities and supplies are provided for changing nappies/clothing in a safe and hygienic matter. It is ‘never appropriate to leave a child in a wet or soiled nappy/clothing until the parent/guardian is available to attend to their child’s personal hygiene’ (Children’s Services Guide, Overview of children’s services). How and where you are able to provide these facilities in a kindergarten environment will be dependent on the space and layout of the bathroom area.
Centres are advised to consider procedures that ensure that the requirements of the regulations are met while understanding the individual child’s need for respect and privacy, hygiene, supervision and OH&S. Centres are reminded that it is not acceptable to change a child’s clothing or nappy in areas that are not licensed, such as the office, foyer, kitchen and adult/disabled toilets.
- Wear disposable gloves.
- Ensure that the nappy changing area has been cleaned with disinfectant and that paper has been placed on the part where the child’s bottom will be.
- Hold the child away from your body when you pick them up and use only your hands to carry the child or, wherever possible, ask the child to walk to the change area.
- Never leave the child alone.
- Remove the child’s nappy and any soiled clothes.
- Extremely soiled nappies/clothing may need to have the contents tipped into the toilet.
- Place the nappy into plastic bags/lined rubbish bin (a hands-free lidded bin that is inaccessible to children is recommended).
- Clean the child’s bottom, wiping front to back and place the wipes into a lined bin.
- Remove the paper and put it in the bin.
- Remove the gloves before touching the child’s clean clothes or putting on a clean nappy. Do not let your skin touch the outer contaminated surface of the glove. Put the gloves in the lined bin.
- Dress the child and wash the child’s hands.
- Put on another pair of gloves and wash the nappy change area with neutral detergent and warm water; use a paper towel or a clean cloth to wipe. Put the paper in the bin, or the cloth in a laundry bag labelled for bottom cloths for washing.
- If necessary, rinse the cloth nappy/clothing before placing them in a plastic bag for the parents/guardians.
- Remove gloves as above, replace the paper and wash your hands thoroughly.
These guidelines were prepared based on information provided in Staying Healthy in Child Care (2005), 4th edition (available at www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications).
Hands are the parts of the body most responsible for transference of germs, leading to the spread of infection.
It is essential that they are properly washed upon arrival and frequently throughout the day.
Correct hand-washing techniques are a vital part of good hygiene practices, and staff should be trained in a set hand-washing technique. For example:
- Remove rings and bracelets where practicable.
- Apply liquid soap (preferable) and wet hands with warm running water.
- Wash hands (including between fingers) and forearms for at least 60 seconds (count to 10).
- Rinse with running warm water (count to 10).
- Turn off the tap with a piece of paper towel.
- Dry with new disposable paper towels, hot air-dryer or your own cloth.
Suggested practice is to provide this information at each hand-washing area.
When to wash hands
- When you arrive at the centre
- Before handling food, including babies bottles
- Before eating
- After changing a nappy
- After removing gloves
- After going to the toilet
- After cleaning up blood, faeces or vomit
- After wiping a nose, a child’s or your own
- Before giving medication
- After handling garbage
- After coming in from outside play
- Before going home
When to wash the children’s hands
- On arrival at the centre (parents can help with this)
- Before and after eating and handling food
- After having their nappy changed
- After going to the toilet
- After coming in from outside play
- After touching nose secretions
- After coming in contact with blood, faeces or vomit
- Before going home