Hand Washing Survey: 51 Percent Of Schools Don't Make Time For Hygiene

A survey coinciding with Global Hand Washing Day on Saturday, Oct. 15 found 43 percent of children said that if they don't wash their hands at school, it's because they don't have time.

The survey, conducted by Russell Research for the American Cleaning Institute, found good news overall--89 percent of students ages 8-17 reported washing their hands after using the school bathroom. But lack of teacher support and "digusting" bathrooms sometimes hinder their best efforts. Fifty-one percent of kids reported their teachers didn't set aside enough time for hand-washing before lunch. Forty-seven percent said they occasionally don't use the bathroom because it isn't clean.

"Good hygiene is one of the many life skills that schools can reinforce. Good hygiene helps keep students healthy and in school," Nancy Bock, ACI Vice President of Consumer Education, said in a news release. "Parents and teachers need to prompt kids daily, because cleaning matters to our health. Lessons learned in school last a lifetime."

In addition, fewer students reported washing their hands before eating lunch (65 percent) and just 53 percent after blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing. Fortunately, 77 percent said watching their friends wash their hands at school prompts them to do the same.

A survey of the students' parents shows that they try to model good hygiene for their children, but they aren't perfect. Seventy-nine percent of parents with children in the same age group surveyed said that they ask their children to wash up before eating. However,25 percent of parents admit not teaching their children how long to wash. Even 33 percent admit to times when they themselves forget to wash. The ACI is offering guidelines to kids, parents and teachers to promote good hygiene, including reporting inadequate bathroom supplies and setting aside time in the school day for handwashing. "All of us can play a role in keeping our kids clean and healthy," said ACI's Nancy Bock. "As cold and flu season approaches, put handwashing on your homework list for healthy and happy children and families." The full survey is available from ACI.
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