HS12 Hand Washing – Policy and Procedure


Policy Statement

The purpose of the Hand Washing Policy at Little.ly Early Learning Centre is to ensure that all educators, staff, volunteers, families and children of the Service perform specific hand washing hygiene practices required to minimise the risks associated with cross infection.


This policy applies to children, families, staff, management and visitors of the Service.


Little.ly Early Learning Centre believes hand washing is a vital strategy in the prevention of spreading many infectious diseases. Research emphases good handwashing as the single most important task you can do to reduce the spread of bacteria, germs, viruses and parasites that infect yourself, other staff and children being cared for.

Legislative Requirements

National Quality Standards

Quality Area 2: Children’s health and safety
2.1 Health Each child’s health and physical activity is supported and promoted
2.1.1 Wellbeing and comfort Each child’s wellbeing and comfort is provided for, including appropriate opportunities to meet each child’s needs for sleep, rest and relaxation
2.1.2 Health practices and procedures Effective illness and injury management and hygiene practices are promoted and implemented.
2.2 Safety Each child is protected
2.2.1 Supervision At all times, reasonable precautions and adequate supervision ensure children are protected from harm and hazard

Education and Care Services National Regulations

77 Health, hygiene and safe food practices
106 Laundry and hygiene facilities
109 Toilet and hygiene facilities

Principles that Inform our Policy

All decision making about our Hand Washing Procedures are carried out in accordance with the principles of our Hand Washing Policy.

  • The aim of Quality Area 2 under the National Quality Standard is to safeguard and promote children’s health and safety, minimise risks and protect children from harm, injury and infection.
  • Effective hand drying is just as important as comprehensive hand washing. Research states that wet hands can pick up and transfer up to 1000 times more bacteria than dry hands.
  • Children, staff and educators use disposable paper towel/individual hand towels to dry hands.
  • Hand washing is a vital strategy in the prevention of spreading many infectious diseases.
  • Research emphasises good handwashing as the single most important task you can do to reduce the spread of bacteria, germs, viruses, and parasites that infect yourself, other staff and children being cared for.
  • The significance of hand hygiene for preventing the transmission of microorganisms and reducing the spread of infection has been brought into sharp focus following the global pandemic (COVID-19).

Key Terms

Term Meaning Source
Hygiene Conditions or practices conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease, especially through cleanliness Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Pandemic The worldwide spread of a new disease www.healthdirect.com.au
Cross Infection The transfer of harmful microorganisms, usually bacteria and viruses. The spread of infections can occur between people, pieces of equipment, or within the body www.healthline.com.au

Links to other Policies

  • Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority
  • Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority. (2014)
  • Guide to the Education and Care Services National Law and the Education and Care Services
  • National Regulations 2015
  • ECA Code of Ethics
  • Guide to the National Quality Standard
  • Staying Healthy in Child Care 5th Edition
  • Revised National Quality Standards
  • Hand hygiene Australia http://www.hha.org.au/

Induction and Ongoing Training

Little.ly requires that induction and ongoing training of all staff include the Hand Washing Policy to enable staff to fulfill their roles effectively. In addition Little.ly promotes information sharing at staff meetings, sharing of information received from industry trends or changes in legislation, and in consultation at policy review sessions.

Policy Created / Reviewed

Policy Created / Reviewed Modifications Next Review Date
Implemented February 2019   February 2020
February 2020 Updates the references to comply with the revised national Quality Standards February 2021
August 2021 Reviewed policy following endorsement of the ECEC package August 2022

Monitoring, Evaluation and Review

This policy will be reviewed annually or on occurrence of any relevant legislative change. Management of Little.ly will conduct reviews in consultation with educators at staff meetings.


Our Service will adhere to National Regulation requirements, standards and tools to support the effectiveness of our hand washing policy. We aim to educate and encourage children to wash their hands effectively which will help to reduce the incidence of infectious diseases. We believe hygiene practices of children being cared for should be as rigorous as staff and educators.

Management will:

  • Provide adequate and appropriate resources and facilities for handwashing such as clean water, soap, paper towel and sanitiser
  • Meet the services duty of care and occupational health and safety obligations to minimise risk of spread of infection
  • Ensure “how to wash your hands” posters are displayed near every hand washing station
  • Implement, review and train staff accordingly regarding handwashing and hygiene practice
  • Always comply with the handwashing policy

Educators / Staff will:

In relation to own hygiene and to ensure the greatest level of personal hygiene, it is a requirement of the service to wash your hands:

  • On arrival at the Service
  • Before and after toileting or changing nappies
  • After going to the toilet
  • After wiping a runny nose or blowing your own nose
  • Before and after administering first aid
  • Before and after administering medication
  • After using chemicals
  • Before eating, preparing and serving food
  • Making bottles
  • After cleaning up bodily fluids
  • After removing protective gloves
  • After the children go home

To wash your hands correctly staff and children must complete the following steps:

  1. Turn on warm water.
  2. Wet your hands with running water.
  3. Apply liquid soap.
  4. Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds. …
  5. Rinse your hands under running water for at least 10 seconds.
  6. Dry your hands with a clean, disposable paper towel.
  7. Turn off the water using the paper towel instead of your bare hand.

N.B. Children will be encouraged to follow educators modelling and wash their hands at appropriate times throughout the day.

Strategies Educators will use to encourage effective hand hygiene practice include:

  • Talking about the importance of hygiene
  • Singing a song or reciting a poem (singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice is a sufficient time frame)
  • Using a clear visual poster with a step by step instructions
  • Encouraging and using positive reinforcement
  • Ensuring equipment is accessible and appropriate for use
  • Provide clear simple routines
  • Give children sufficient time to practice and develop their skills
  • Ensure adequate supervision and assistance is available when required

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