Kids know how to get their hands dirty. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing has become muddled in recent years; clearly germs cause disease, but does too much disinfecting hinder kids’ abilities to develop strong immune systems? Recent data says no: there is no research proving that being too clean leads to having more allergies. Knowing this, how do we protect children from the contagions they touch? For kids’ bodies, little habits make a big difference.
According to the CDC, handwashing is the simplest and most effective form of protection from colds, the flu, diarrhea, hepatitis A, and SARS. It protects people of all ages, and according to our recent interview with infectious disease expert Dr. Harley Rotbart, it saves lives. But the biggest challenge is not backing up the facts; it’s getting people to actually do the washing.
Stop flu and keep children healthy. Labels remind children to soap and wash properly – all while singing! Use labels on mirrors and walls. Labels are cleanly removable, too.
Handwashing not only prevents disease transmission, it reduces stress too. Despite study after study touting the benefits of handwashing, there’s only a 40% compliance rate in hospitals—where 90,000 deaths per year are due to infections contracted within the hospital itself. Only 32% of adults wash their hands after coughing or sneezing into them. With grown-ups flouting this commonsense habit, educating children can feel like a daunting task.
Twinkle Star stickers and children’s health
Kids are hard to slow down, even for the 20 seconds pediatricians recommend they take to clean their hands. The trick of getting kids to wash is to make the activity enjoyable and memorable in its own right. With a colorful image, cartoon character, and a song to sing, handwashing can become as fun for kids as the game they’re running back to. At JustBathroomSigns.com, we’re taking the initiative to reduce the spread of infections in children (and to limit the infections they spread to adults) the best way we know how: making signs.
Dr. Rotbart keeps kids healthy by teaching them to sing one verse of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” washing their hands for the duration of the song, which lasts around 20 seconds. This trick increases the frequency and improves the quality of handwashing. Since caretakers are not always with children in the bathroom, a sticker engages and reminds kids to take the time to soap up.
These signs are round, adhesive stickers, and three inches in diameter. They are made for mirrors, doors, and walls: wherever kids might glance when they’re in a germy area like the kitchen or bathroom.
New stickers encourage kids to not just wash their hands, but wash properly, for 20 seconds. Click on the stickers above to see pricing details.
Where to place Twinkle Star stickers
We are better at washing our hands in public places than in our homes. But this is based on the naïve assumption that we’re safer in our own environments. In fact, 90% of salmonella infections occur in people’s private residences. Infections tend to spread indoors, so we’re extremely vulnerable to what we bring inside our houses.
For this reason, it’s crucial to put up stickers for at home, where kids will be protected from the infectious germs that we often ignore out of comfort with our routine. These signs are also useful wherever kids congregate - schools, recreation centers, churches, restaurants, and the like.
Five germ hotspots and how to protect children
Home. Our perception that our homes are cleaner than the outside world is simply fantasy. The kitchen, bathroom, playroom, sick room, and laundry room are reservoirs of hazardous germs.
Tips: Clean and disinfect surfaces: in the kitchen, daily, and three to four times a week in the bathroom. Apply Twinkle Star stickers in infectious areas to help kids remember to wash their hands.
School. The main risk of infection in schools is respiratory. Schools cannot enforce handwashing habits in the same way daycares can, and the proximity of desks and frequent hand contact can expose kids to viruses.
Tips: Screen the school. Ask if immunizations are required, and if toys, sleep mats, play surfaces and other areas are cleaned, and how often.
Petting Zoos. It isn’t a pretty thought, but a common cause of infection here is caused by animal feces getting into kids’ mouths.
Tips: Don't bring food, pacifiers, water, or toys into animal areas, and discourage thumb-sucking.
Doctors' Offices. Quite simply, sick kids in doctors’ waiting rooms can make other kids sick.
Tips: Very few germs are airborne, so avoid letting your child touch any toys or books in the waiting room. Bring your own entertainment.
The Supermarket. Shopping cart handles have more germs than public restrooms.
Tips: Clean your cart with a sanitizing wipe before using it, and encourage your supermarket to implement wipe dispensers at its entrances
For more tips and research, check out Dr. Rotbart’s book, Germ Proof Your Kids. All statistics used on this page are drawn from this source.