Controlling infection in your early years setting
Rigorous infection control measures
You, your staff and your families should be confident that your service has rigorous infection control measures in place such as:
- good basic hygiene practices such as regular hand-washing (practitioners and children)
- supervise young children to ensure they wash their hands for 20 seconds more often than usual with soap and water
- clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces more often than usual using your standard cleaning products
- waterproof dressing to cover on any existing wounds or lesions
- personal protective equipment (PPE) such as aprons and gloves are used as necessary
- clear procedures are in place for cleaning equipment and wider environment
- immediate cleaning of spillages of blood and other bodily fluids
- clear procedures on safe disposal of waste
- infection control guidance and management procedures in place which are clearly understood and adhered to by staff
- any items that come into contact with mouths such as cups, bottles and straws should not be shared.
Public Health England advises that children and staff should be encouraged to catch sneezes with a tissue, bin the tissue and wash their hands.
You should also remind children to wash their hands:
- after outside breaks
- before meals and snack times
- after using the toilet
- when they arrive at your setting
- at the end of the day before they go home.
If you do not have access to soap and water to hand at the time, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used instead. Look for products with minimum 60% alcohol. It is important that everyone should try not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
The NHS has produced videos for children about correct handwashing techniques that can be found on YouTube such as this one:
Public Health England also has resources and public information about handwashing.
Posters and lesson plans on general hand hygiene can be found on the eBug website
Do practitioners need to use personal protective equipment (PPE) in childcare settings?
Public Health England and the Department for Education has said that "childcare practitioners do not need PPE".
PPE is required by medical and care professionals providing close contact care for those showing symptoms of coronavirus.
Do practitioners need to wash or change their clothes immediately after leaving the setting?
PHE and the DfE have confirmed that there is no need to clean your clothes immediately after leaving work at a childcare setting – this is only required by healthcare professionals.
Practitioners simply need to follow the guidance on social distancing, handwashing and cleaning surfaces.
What should I do if a child starts displaying symptoms of Covid-19?
If a child starts showing symptoms of Covid-19 while at your setting, they should be collected as soon as possible by a parent/carer.
While they are awaiting collection If possible, they should be put in a separate room with a closed door - depending on the age of the child - with appropriate adult supervision if required.
Ideally, a window should be opened for ventilation. If it is not possible to isolate them, move them to an area which is at least two metres away from other people.
If they need to go to the bathroom while waiting to be collected, they should use a separate bathroom if possible. The bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected using standard cleaning products before being used by anyone else.
You should increase the frequency of handwashing and cleaning surfaces, toys and other equipment in your setting.
If anyone becomes unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature in a setting they must be sent home and advised to follow the staying at home guidance.
In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.
If a member of staff has helped someone who was taken unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves.
They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell.
Cleaning with normal household disinfectant after someone with symptoms has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.
You can find guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings.
Latest government advice and support
Implementing Social Distancing in Education and Childcare Settings
This guidance is for education and childcare settings that are remaining open to support vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. It should be read in conjunction with guidance for social distancing.
Guidance for educational settings
Free infection prevention resources
- Alliance members can complete our FREE EduCare course Infection prevention and control in an early years setting and non-members can access for small cost.
- Alliance members can also read Good Practice in Early Years Infection Control — an online version is available to read for free in the Members Area.