PLAY parks, creches, nursery schools, the play areas at your family's favourite restaurant – they're all an important part of your child's development. After all, this is where they learn how to make friends and how to socialise while playing and exercising.
Children love hugging, holding hands, touching each other's faces and sharing their toys and food: a sandwich can go quite far among a few toddlers, and you can guarantee that they'll be happily sharing more than just its contents.
Claire Hooper, Unilever skin cleansing marketing director in South Africa, says they also will be passing around one of the biggest threats to their safety: germs. Fighting germs is difficult, because they're hard to detect and they spread quickly and easily – from one sick toddler with a runny nose and sticky fingers to the entire family or classroom.
It's inevitable that children will come into contact with germs on a daily basis and while we can't put them into a protective bubble, we can help them by practising good hygiene habits and teaching them the importance of washing their hands regularly with soap.
Unilever recommends the following 10 good hygiene habits:
1. Keep surfaces clean around the home;
2. Don't share towels;
3. Do the laundry regularly;
4. Stop children swapping cups and plates;
5. Disinfect door handles, handrails and toilets;
6. Ensure your children wash hands before eating and after using the toilet;
7. Teach children not to put their hands in their mouths and noses, especially when they're visiting outdoor jungle gym and play areas;
8. When sneezing and blowing their noses, teach your kids to use a tissue and to put it in the bin;
9. If your child is prescribed antibiotics make sure the course of medication is completed, and
10. Always wash your child's hands after visiting public play areas.