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New guidance on hand washing

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has released new guidance on hand washing and hygiene for all children and young people. The guidance calls that all children above pre-school age are taught the importance of properly washing and drying their hands and clear information being displayed on managing symptoms on infections.

The aim of the guidance is to change people's behaviour to improve infection prevention knowledge and address the growing problem of drug-resistant infections. 

Two of the key recommendations for early years settings are:

Provide facilities for thoroughly washing and drying hands for children, staff and visitors. These should include liquid soap and tepid running water, and handrubs when these are not available.

Ensure staff talk to children about the importance of thoroughly washing and drying hands, including:

  • Explaining when to wash and dry hands (for example, after using the toilet and before eating)
  • Showing them how to wash hands with liquid soap and tepid running water (see the standard principles in NICE's guideline on infection control).

 Further information on infection control can be found in our infections control page.