Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

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

5.4 Space and Equipment in Designated Areas

5.4.2 Diaper Changing Areas Handwashing Sinks for Diaper Changing Areas in Centers

Handwashing sinks in centers should be provided within arm’s reach of the caregiver/teacher to diaper changing tables and toilets. A minimum of one handwashing sink should be available for every two changing tables. Where infants and toddlers are in care, sinks and diaper changing tables should be assigned for use to a specific group of children and used only by children and adults who are in the assigned group as defined by Standard Handwashing sinks should not be used for bathing or removing smeared fecal material.
Sinks must be close to where the diapering takes place to avoid transfer of contaminants to other surfaces en route to washing the hands of staff and children. Having sinks close by will help prevent the spread of contaminants and disease.

When sinks are shared by multiple groups, cross-contamination occurs. Many child care centers put the diaper changing tables and sinks in a buffer zone between two classrooms, effectively joining the groups through cross-contamination.

Shared access to soap and disposable towels at more than one sink is acceptable if the location of these is fully accessible to each person.
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start
RELATED STANDARDS Diaper Changing Tables Use, Location, and Setup of Diaper Changing Areas
  1. Fiene, R. 2002. 13 indicators of quality child care: Research update. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.