Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

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

5.6 Supplies

5.6.0 Supplies for Bathrooms and Handwashing Sinks

Bathrooms and handwashing sinks should be supplied with:

  1. Liquid soap, hand sanitizer, hand lotion, and paper towels or other hand-drying devices approved by the regulatory health authority, within arm’s reach of the user of each sink;
  2. Toilet paper, within arm’s reach of the user of each toilet.

The facility should permit the use of only single-use cloth or disposable paper towels. The shared use of a towel should be prohibited. All tissues and disposable towels should be discarded into an appropriate waste container after use.

Lack of supplies discourages necessary handwashing. Cracks in the skin and excessive dryness from frequent handwashing discourage the staff from complying with necessary hygiene and may lead to increased bacterial accumulation on hands. The availability of hand lotion to prevent dryness encourages staff members to wash their hands more often. Supplies must be within arm’s reach of the user to prevent contamination of the environment with waste, water, or excretion.

Shared cloth towels can transmit infectious disease. Even though a child may use a cloth towel that is solely for that child’s use, preventing shared use of towels is difficult. Disposable towels prevent this problem, but once used, must be discarded. Many infectious diseases can be prevented through appropriate hygiene and sanitation.

Bar soap should not be used by children or staff. Liquid soap is widely available, economical, and easily used by staff and children. If anyone is sensitive to the type of product used, a substitute product that accommodates this special need should be used.

A disposable towel dispenser that dispenses the towel without having to touch the container or the fresh towel supply is better than towel dispensers in which the person must use a lever to get a towel, or handle the towel supply to remove one towel. Some roller devices dispense one towel at a time from a paper towel roll; some commercial dispensers hold either a large roll or a pile of folded towels inside the dispenser, with the towel intended for next use sticking out of the opening of the dispenser.

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