Program

Jul 24, 2007

OVERVIEW

An intervention was developed to increase hygienic practices
among young children at child care centers. In an experimental study in
which 23 centers were randomly assigned, children attending centers assigned to
take part in the intervention were compared with children attending centers
that did not receive the intervention on frequency of colds and on absenteeism
due to colds. Among children 24 months of age and younger, children from
treatment centers had significantly fewer colds than did children from control
centers. This difference did not exist among children older than 24
months of age, however. Children from treatment centers did not have a
lower rate of absenteeism due to colds than did children from control
centers.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Pre-school children in child care

This intervention sought to decrease upper respiratory
infections in young children by increasing hygiene at child care centers.
Center staff were trained in accordance with
recommended handwashing techniques as outlined by the
Australian National Health and Medical Research Council. Staff taught handwashing to children and performed handwashes
for infants too young to be able to wash their own hands. Techniques such
as singing songs about handwashing were employed to
help children understand the importance of washing their hands.
Additionally, techniques pertaining to nose-wiping were covered.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Roberts, L., Smith, W., Jorm, L., Patel, M., Douglas, R. M., & McGilchrist, C.(2000).Effect of Infection Control Measures on the Frequency
of Upper Respiratory Infection in Child Care: A Randomized, Controlled
Trial. Pediatrics, 105, 738-742.

Evaluated population: A total of 558 children from 23 licensed
child care centers in the Australian
Capital Territory constituted the study sample for
this investigation. All children were age three or younger, attended
child care at least three days a week, and had no chronic illnesses that
predisposed them to infection.

Approach: Child care centers were randomly assigned
to either the treatment condition (11 centers) or the control condition (12
centers). Staff from centers assigned to the treatment condition received
three hours of training in hygiene. Staff who
were unable to attend the initial training session at their center were
provided with opportunities to train elsewhere. Training was reinforced
every two weeks through newsletters and trainer visits. Staff from
centers assigned to the control condition received no training.

For over six months, parents of children in the study were
called every two weeks and were asked to report of symptoms of illness in their
children.

Results: Among children 24 months of age and younger,
children from treatment centers had significantly fewer colds than did children
from control centers. This difference did not exist among children older
than 24 months of age, however. Children from treatment centers did not
have a lower rate of absenteeism due to colds than did children from control
centers.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Roberts, L., Smith, W., Jorm, L., Patel, M., Douglas, R. M., & McGilchrist, C.(2000).Effect of Infection Control Measures on the Frequency
of Upper Respiratory Infection in Child Care: A Randomized, Controlled
Trial. Pediatrics, 105, 738-742.

KEYWORDS: Early Childhood (0-5), Infants (0-12
months), Toddlers (12-36 months), Children (3-11), School-based, Child Care,
Early Childhood Education, Skills Training, Physical Health

Program information last updated 7/24/07