When it comes to running a nursery or daycare, the priority is always the children. However, what is perhaps less obvious, is, to ensure the health and safety of the children, you will also need to take into account the health and safety of the staff and the environment as well.
The biggest issue in a childcare setting is the number of children together in a small space. This can make the children very susceptible to illnesses and infection, therefore, it is the nursery’s responsibility to take extra care with enforcing hygiene practices and proper infection control measures to prevent this.
To help you promote good hygiene, educate the children on hygienic behaviour, and generally keep your nursery in tip-top shape, here are some practical tips and advice!
The first thing you need to do to ensure that your nursery is safe is to check the building itself. Does your building provide:
- Suitable Lighting
- Proper Ventilation
- Sufficient Hand Wash Basins with Hot and Cold Water, Soap and Drying Facilities
- Sufficient Waste Storage & Disposal Facilities
- Barriers Preventing Entry to ‘Unclean Areas’ (e.g Kitchen and Cupboards)
If not, you need to ensure that these safeguard measures are in place. Only then will you have the basics covered in a safe and secure environment for the children.
A clean nursery is a happy nursery, so you need to make sure that cleaning is an essential part of the day-to-day runnings of the nursery. With cleaning being a major player in the prevention and control of infection, here are some essential tips that you need to make sure you are doing regularly.
- All surfaces need to be wiped down and cleaned.
- All toys and play areas need to be wiped down, especially after use.
- All floors need mopping, wiping down or hoovering. Carpets in particular need to be steam cleaned regularly.
- Toilets need to be cleaned regularly, paying particular attention to toilet handles, door handles, taps and switches.
- Kitchens and food prep areas need to be cleaned before and after every meal.
Staff & Children
- Teach and enforce proper hand washing, especially after being outdoors, handling animals, coughing or sneezing, before and after food, after handling waste.
- Always help young children to wash their hands.
- Teach and enforce that all staff and children who are unwell should not attend nursery.
- All cleaning needs to be done with proper cleaning materials and you need to ensure that there’s an appropriate interval before the children will be touching the toys or surfaces.
- Clean and disinfect all cleaning equipment regularly or immediately after a very dirty job.
- Dispose of disposable cloths and mop heads after each use, otherwise, machine wash on a hot cycle at the end of every day. Replace when too worn.
- Use separate cleaning materials for each area (e.g the kitchen, the toilets etc).
It may seem like common sense, but it is easy to let cleaning standards slide without realising. To make sure that this doesn’t happen, create a cleaning schedule and make sure that people sign their names when the jobs are done.
With cleaning comes waste, so you need to ensure that you’re disposing of it correctly. To do so, start by:
- Checking you have a licensed waste management company that will dispose of your waste
- Segregating your waste into different bins (e.g general waste, recycling, sharps, food etc)
- Keeping your waste in wall-mounted foot-operated bins that children can’t reach
- Storing your waste in a secure location away from the public
You also need to make sure that when handling waste, you wear protective clothing, only fill the bag up to three quarters to avoid tearing and wash your hands properly immediately afterwards.
By ensuring that your nursery is clean and safe, and abides by all the hygiene and waste disposal regulations, you will be promoting good health and hygiene as well as keeping the children as safe as they possibly can be.
Need More Help with Your Nursery or Health & Safety?
Child Care Health and Safety Wales provides many publications and resources on Health and Safety in a nursery setting, including policy log books and checklists that can be tailored to your business. If you need any advice or guidance on which ones you need, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
firstname.lastname@example.org | 07921 278986