Caring for Our Childen (CFOC)

Chapter 5: Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health

5.4 Space and Equipment in Designated Areas

5.4.1 Toilet and Handwashing Areas

5.4.1.6: Ratios of Toilets, Urinals, and Hand Sinks to Children


Toilets and hand sinks should be easily accessible to children and facilitate adult supervision. The number of toilets and hand sinks should be subject to the following minimums:

  1. Toddlers:
    1. If each group size is less than ten children, provide one sink and one toilet per group.
  2. Preschool-age children:
    1. If each group size is less than ten children, provide one sink and one toilet per group;
    2. If each group size is between ten to sixteen children, provide two sinks and two flush toilets for each group.
  3. School-age children:
    1. If each group size is less than ten children, provide one sink and one toilet per group;
    2. If each group size is between ten to twenty children, provide two sinks and two toilets per group. Provide separation of male and female toilets.

For toddlers and preschoolers, the maximum toilet height should be eleven inches, and maximum height for hand sinks should be twenty-two inches. Urinals should not exceed 30% of the total required toilet fixtures and should be used by one child at a time. For school-age children, standard height toilet, urinal, and hand sink fixtures are appropriate.

Non-flushing equipment in toilet learning/training should not be counted as toilets in the toilet:child ratio.

RATIONALE
The environment can become contaminated more easily with multiple simultaneous users of urinals, because at least one of the children must assume an off-center position in relationship to the fixture during voiding.

Young children use the toilet frequently and cannot wait long when they have to use the toilet. The ratio of 1:10 is based on best professional experience of early childhood educators who are facility operators (1). This ratio also limits the group that will be sharing facilities (and infections).

COMMENTS
The ratios of toilets and hand sinks to children provided above takes into consideration the maximum group size specified under Standard 1.1.1.2. Local building codes also dictate toilet and sink requirements based on number of children utilizing them.

State licensing regulations have often applied a ratio of 1:10 for toddlers and preschool children, and 1:15 for school-age children. The ratios used in this standard correspond to the maximum group sizes for each age group specified in Standard 1.1.1.2.

A ratio of one toilet to every ten children may not be sufficient if only one toilet is accessible to each group of ten, so a minimum of two toilets per group is preferable when the group size approaches ten. However, a large toilet room with many toilets used by several groups is less desirable than several small toilet rooms assigned to specific groups, because of the opportunities such a large room offers for transmitting infectious disease agents.

When providing bathroom fixtures for a mixed group of preschool and school-age children, requiring a school-age child to use bathroom fixtures designed for preschoolers may negatively impact the self-esteem of the school-age child.

TYPE OF FACILITY
Center, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS
1.1.1.2 Ratios for Large Family Child Care Homes and Centers
REFERENCES
  1. Olds, A. R. 2001. Child care design guide. New York: McGraw-Hill.