Sunday, December 28, 2014

Weekly Poll: Do You Use Latex or Nitrile Gloves for Diaper Changes?

It's winter. It's that time of year when keeping the bad bugs to a minimum is something that's on every caregiver's mind. Do you take extra precautions when it comes to diaper changes or does your center have rules about wearing gloves? If you're the one making the rules, why have you chosen to wear gloves (or not) during diaper changes?

I'll share a story. I once worked with a group of infants and while it was not policy that we had to wear gloves, they were available for us if we wanted them. I was standing talking to another teacher while she was starting to change her babies. She put a pair of gloves on and changed the first child. Then, with gloves still on, she put that baby on the floor and then grabbed her next baby and started right in on the next diaper change.

I stopped her immediately and asked her why she was changing diapers that way and she told me she didn't need to wash her hands or anything since she had gloves on! I told her that the gloves were not to protect her hands from getting soiled, but rather it was to help stop contamination / spread of infection from one child to another or from the child to her / her to the child and that for it to be effective she would need to change gloves between each change. She told me she thought that would just be wasteful, but she did start changing the gloves. But then she didn't wash her hands between changes. In the state where I was working at the time, Texas, the licensing regulation stated, "If you use disposable gloves, you must discard them after each diaper change and wash your hands with soap and running water."

Later, I was subbing in the toddler room and noticed that the caregiver there did the same thing, so I talked to her about it as well. We were able to submit ideas for in-service classes so I added that to the list. I think I just put something general like "ways to prevent the spread of infection" so that I wasn't calling everyone out, but it was clear that we needed some re-education in that area.

Photo Credit: "Magic Kingdom - Diaper Changing Table" by David under CC by 2.0 license.