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Update on Hand Hygiene
December 6, 2002

"Old horses don't forget the road." –Japanese proverb


A recent Centers for Disease Control report stated a preference for the use of alcohol-based gel, liquid, and foam hand sanitizers in health care settings. This announcement created some confusion in the early childhood community, with some professionals assuming that the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers could replace hand washing as a health procedure. In an article for Child Care Information Exchange, Dr. Sue Aronson provides clarity to this debate pointing out that hand washing with soap and water remains the option of choice in early childhood centers. She reiterates, "Caregivers and children in child care should wash their hands with soap and water in each of the situations listed in Caring for Our Children Standard 3,020 and whenever their hands are visibly dirty or soiled.

* Upon arrival for the day or when moving from one child care group to another;
* Before and after eating, handling food, or feeding a child; giving medication; playing in water that is used by more than one person;
* After diapering; using the toilet or helping a child use a toilet; handling bodily fluids from sneezing, wiping, and blowing noses, from mouths, or from sores; handling uncooked food; handling pets and other animals; playing in sandboxes; cleaning or handling the garbage.

For the complete text of the Aronson article on hand hygiene, go to the "Free Resources from Exchange" section of www.ChildCareExchange.com.


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