Cleanliness and hygiene standards for group child care facilities

When touring a child care facility, ask about and evaluate the physical environment for signs that it is clean and generally well-kept. Notice whether the facility observes good hygiene practices, and ask questions to clarify policies. Consider the following physical traits and hygiene issues:

  • Is the facility clean? Are toys and other clutter kept off the floor? Are wastebaskets placed throughout the facility?
  • Are there written policies for cleanliness of staff members? For handling of environmental waste (such as vomit, blood, or feces)?1
  • Where are the restrooms and sinks?
    • Can even the smallest toddlers reach them?
    • How often are they disinfected?
    • Do you see the staff washing their own hands and helping children wash their hands?
    • Are separate sinks used for hand-washing after diapering a child or using the bathroom and before preparing food?
  • What are the diapering practices? Diapers should be changed in a designated area away from food preparation areas. Surfaces should be nonporous and sanitized after each diaper change. (Disposable paper pads may also be used for a changing surface and thrown away after each change.) Diaper-changing procedures should be clearly written out and posted at the changing area.1
  • How frequently are toys disinfected?
  • What type of bedding is used for naps? Children should have their own mat, cot, and bedding and have it washed at least on a weekly basis.
  • How frequently are floors/carpets cleaned?
  • Does there seem to be enough space for the number of children?
  • Is there good ventilation? How often are rooms opened to allow fresh air to enter? Notice whether there are any stale or foul odors.
  • Is the facility well-lit?

Citations

  1. American Academy of Pediatrics (2006). Children in out-of-home child care. In LK Pickering, ed., Red Book: 2006 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases, 27th ed., pp. 130–145. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.

Last Updated: September 26, 2008

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics

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