Hand-Washing Basics

by Roberta Duyff, MS RDN FAND

Hand-Washing Basics

Kids can't see them — but germs that cause illness are everywhere! For children, who have less immunity, proper hand washing and food safety are especially important.

Teach children good hand-washing habits — always before and after handling food and eating, and after using the bathroom, touching a pet, combing hair, blowing their nose or coughing or sneezing into their hands:

  • Wash hands with soap and warm water, rubbing hands for 20 seconds. (It's good counting practice, too.) And dry hands well.
  • Get a safe stool so your child can reach the sink, the faucet, the soap and a towel.
  • Practice with your child. Rub a little cinnamon and oil on your child's hands. Watch what happens if he or she doesn't wash hands well. Cinnamon that stays on hands represents germs.
  • Be a good role model. Always was and dry your hands properly, too.
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About the author:

Roberta L Duyff MS RDN FAND

Roberta Duyff, MS RDN FAND

Author of "Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, Fourth Edition" and "365 Days of Healthy Eating from the American Dietetic Association" (both published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New Jersey).




  • Cook healthy

    Involve your child in the cutting, mixing and preparation of all meals. Even a snack can be healthy.

  • Eat right

    Sit down together as a family to enjoy a wonderful meal and the opportunity to share the day's experiences with one another.

  • Shop smart

    To encourage a healthy lifestyle, get your children involved in selecting the food that will appear at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.

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