Paediatric doctor & TV presenter Dr Ranj Singh explains that making handwashing fun and setting a good example will promote good hand hygiene in kids.
“My seven-year-old son has recently gone back to school and I’m worried he won’t wash his hands often or properly during the school day and could catch coronavirus. Is there anything I can do about it – and does handwashing really matter?”
Paediatric doctor and TV presenter Dr Ranj Singh says: “Handwashing and hand sanitising has never been more important and should be a key, frequent part of everyone’s everyday routines as it helps stop the spread of germs and bacteria.
“Education starts at home, and a recent study by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and soap company Lifebuoy (lifebuoy.co.uk) shows half of parents are teaching their kids the important times to wash or sanitise their hands at home. At home you can help support your son by setting a good example and teaching him about the important times for hand-washing and how to do it properly . By doing this, you’ll be forming good habits which he can bring into school with him.
“The study also found kids need a lot more reminding than adults – almost two fifths (38 per cent) of children aren’t washing their hands after using the toilet and nearly a third said kids won’t remember to wash hands after coughing. These really are key moments we can be reminding them, as well as before and after eating, and when arriving at and leaving school.
“Start by making it fun at home, as soon as you get in the door. Explain to your son that washing and sanitising hands can help keep your family, friends and other people safe. Head straight to the sink and sing a song while washing your hands for the full 20 seconds as per government guidelines.
“You can also put stickers around the house at key moments to remind you both. He’ll soon pick up those habits and bring them with him to school. Also, be sure to pop a hand sanitiser in his bag so he can use that when soap and water isn’t available.”