We love our kids, but we all know that they can be little germ factories. And when you put a big group of children together it can be a recipe for infection. Childcare centres are high-risk areas for the transmission of infectious illnesses, including colds, viruses and skin conditions. That’s why it’s so important to know that your childcare centre is being properly and regularly cleaned.
As children cannot be expected to maintain the same levels of personal hygiene as adults, the responsibility for cleaning and hygiene falls on childcare centre operators and cleaners. Proper sanitation, hygiene and general cleaning is essential not just for the health of the children and staff, but for reputation and successful operation of the business.
Whether you already have children in childcare or you’re in the process of choosing a childcare facility, it’s important to take note of the cleaning processes in place to ensure that the centre is up to standard and your child is not being unnecessarily exposed to germs and infections.
After Hours Cleaning
It can be difficult and inadvisable to clean effectively while children are present. That’s why daily cleaning should be carried out after hours to ensure the childcare facility is in pristine condition for the children’s arrival first thing in the morning.
All surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised. This should include tables, chairs, window sills and door knobs and other high-touch areas like bookshelves or drawers, that will also need to be cleaned daily.
Hard floors and carpets should also be cleaned and sanitised daily. Carpets should be vacuumed and hard floors mopped with a disinfectant solution. It’s important to ensure that the cleaners are using non-toxic and hypoallergenic cleaners on all surfaces.
Along with surfaces, toys are high-touch items and need daily (if not more frequently) cleaning and disinfecting. Hard plastic toys should be washed in warm water and detergent, before being rinsed and dried. Often, this is simply done by putting toys through a dishwasher rather than washing by hand.
Soft toys should also be regularly cleaned. These are usually either washed by hand in hot water with soap or in a washing machine, depending on manufacturers’ instructions.
You will also need to clean and sanitise all floors. Vacuum and then mop hard surfaces, like vinyl or wood. For carpets, vacuum only but thoroughly.
Bathrooms obviously also require thorough after-hours cleaning on a daily basis. All toilets, sinks, floors, doors, hand washing stations and other high-touch surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised daily (and may also need additional cleaning throughout the day).
You will also want to ensure that all rubbish bins are being emptied and sanitised every day, particularly those that will have dirty sanitary items like tissues and nappies.
We all know how quickly kids can make a mess. And that goes double when there’s a big group of them. That’s why it’s so important that a childcare centre carry out regular cleaning throughout the day.
For instance, if a child is mouthing or teething on a shared object, such as a toy, the item should be immediately removed from circulation. It should be cleaned and disinfected before being returned to the room.
Childcare operators should also pay extra attention if children are unwell. Ideally, you want children sent home if they’re ill. However, if that’s not possible, they should be kept away from other children as much as possible.
Understand Local Regulations
It’s worth doing a little extra research into the cleaning and OHS regulations relevant to your local area for more information on childcare cleaning requirements. Alternatively, you can discuss cleaning protocols with your local childcare providers.