You can help prevent your toddler from getting sick by doing three simple things: getting your toddler immunized, washing your toddler’s hands, and keeping surfaces clean.
Immunization is the best way to protect your child against many serious diseases. British Columbia provides publicly funded immunizations to protect your child against these diseases: measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b disease (Hib), chicken pox, pneumococcal and meningococcal diseases, and human papilloma virus (for girls). Without getting immunizations, your child could get very sick. For more information about immunizations, click here.
Hand washing is the easiest way to help prevent your toddler from getting sick. Show your toddler how to wash his or her hands properly, and make sure to let your toddler watch you wash your own hands. When your toddler sees you doing it regularly, he or she will learn to do the same thing.
Wash hands for 15 to 20 seconds, which is about the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday. Use plain soap and warm water. Finish with a rinse and dry hands well with a clean towel.
Avoid using antibacterial soaps. They may add to the growth of “superbugs.” Superbugs are bacteria that are too strong to treat with antibiotics.
Hand sanitizer gel works well when you don’t have access to soap and water. Just rub hands together until the gel is dry. The alcohol will kill the germs on your hands and your toddler’s hands.
Wash your hands and your toddler’s hands often, especially:
- After changing diapers or toileting
- After blowing a nose
- After touching animals or cleaning a litter box
- When tending a sick child
- When preparing food
- Before eating
Keeping Surfaces Clean
Cleaning surfaces and other things that your toddler or your toddler’s food touches helps prevent your toddler from getting sick.
Some of the most important things to keep clean are:
- Food preparation areas and kitchen utensils
- High chairs, bibs, dishes and cups
- Strollers, toys
- Cribs, changing tables, other furniture that your toddler touches
- Garbage containers
- Pet litter boxes, pet toys, pet beds
Travelling Outside of Canada?
If your toddler is going outside of Canada, she or he may need extra immunizations for protection. Contact your doctor or public health office for more information.
Tips to help make cleaning quicker and easier:
- Keep cleaning supplies in one area where they are handy but locked away from your toddler.
- Clean the most important areas first. You may have time to get to other things later.
- Normally, plain soap and water are all you need for cleaning. Antibacterial household products may reduce the spread of germs. However, their use in the home is not yet proven. Using them may add to the growth of superbugs.
- When cleaning up vomit, diarrhea, blood, or pet droppings, use a mixture of one part bleach to nine parts water, and wear rubber gloves.
- Wash cleaning cloths frequently.
- Avoid using a dishcloth to wipe your toddler’s face. You could spread germs. Use a clean face cloth.
- You may find it easier to have paper towels and disposable wipes on hand.
- If possible, divide up cleaning tasks between people in the house.