Hygiene tips for when you’re out and about with the kids

Practical tips to keep your family protected

By Dr Lisa Ackerley, Director of Medical and Scientific Engagement, Hygiene, at Dettol Pro Solutions


Now that we’re all spending a lot more time outside the home, parents may be wondering how they can keep their kids protected from germs while embarking on fun that the whole family can enjoy. Here’s some practical tips to help keep your family healthy when you’re out and about.

Prevention is protection

On average children may contract between five and 10 colds a year and adults may get two to four. Most cold symptoms are mild and self-limiting do vary from illness to illness and from person to person. Typically, symptoms last between a few days to a week or longer and you’ll make a full recovery without ongoing issues. However if symptoms persist, then you should see your GP.

While it can be tricky to avoid getting a cold, there are some things we can all do to help protect our families:

  • Carry hand sanitiser. Preparation is key, especially if the sanitiser dispenser at the venue you’ve just entered is empty and in need of a refill.
  •  Keep antibacterial wipes in the car or in your carry bag for those moments when washing your hands is difficult and you want to get the grime and the germs off! Think school sporting events, park play dates and going to the local fish and chip shop.
  • Per government advice, stay home if you’re unwell so your family can do their bit to help stop the spread of germs.
  • For when social distancing isn’t an option, masking up can help protect you and others around you.
  • Make use of the efforts businesses are putting in place to help protect the community such as following signage and posters regarding social distancing and risks associated with the spread of germs, and using hand sanitiser stationed at a business’ entrance.

Lead by example

Kids can’t help but pick up learned behaviours from their parents – from mannerisms, to naughty words, we’ve seen it all. Knowing our children look to us as role models, we need to lead by example. It is increasingly important, given the current climate, to positively influence children’s hygiene habits in their formative years which will serve them well for the rest of their lives.

With laws changing about when and where masks should be worn, it’s wise to carry one at all times. When worn, it should fit snugly under your chin covering both your nose and mouth. It is important to sanitise or wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds at crucial times such as after using the bathroom, upon arrival in a shared space, or before eating. I always sanitise my hands when getting back in the car after shopping or going to the gym. We are not conscious of it, but many of us touch our faces frequently (around 23 times an hour on average) and that is one way germs can get in – through our eyes, nose and mouth.

By showing children what good hygiene habits look like and that by protecting ourselves we are protecting others, we can send a positive message about the importance of self care.

However, it’s not just up to parents to encourage and enact good hygiene habits. Businesses and organisations have a responsibility too.



What to expect from the places you frequent

Over the past two years, awareness around hygiene and cleaning has become commonplace, with the latest research from Reckitt indicating that 74% of Australian consumers remain concerned about germs. Outside of the home, government advice differentiates between less and more frequently touched surfaces, and the different protocols required to tackle each – developed from the concept of Targeted Hygiene which is all about applying hand or surface hygiene at key moments when it matters most. For example, this may mean disinfecting high-touch point surfaces which include things like door handles, hangers, hand dryers and hooks which need to be cleaned more frequently, and at regular intervals, and also being conscious that hands may become contaminated from these frequently touched surfaces, and need sanitising, particularly for example when you are about to have a snack.

Knowing that germs are a worry, and the fact that 40% of people surveyed globally have visited a shopping mall within a week as of June 2021, leading Australian retail group Mirvac has partnered with our business-to-business offering at Reckitt, Dettol Pro Solutions, to supply its shopping centres with hand sanitiser. Rooted in research and rigour, Dettol Pro Solutions takes a science-backed approach to help businesses protect their spaces from the spread of germs. As part of the partnership, Dettol is providing Mirvac shopping centres with hand sanitising stations, signage to encourage good hand hygiene and branded uniforms for Mirvac’s facilities team.

Through the partnership, Mirvac is able to show its dedication to cleaning and hygiene by partnering with a trusted brand; 68% of Australians are more likely to be confident in the level of hygiene of a business if they use Dettol which increases to 81% amongst those who are ‘hygiene driven’ when making decisions to visit a business when outside of the home. Having the confidence that businesses are implementing techniques to help minimise the spread of germs gives parents a little ease of mind when taking the kids out and about.

When out shopping, taking your kids to gym class or dining out, here’s what you should be looking out for when in a business space:

  • Sanitiser stations appear to be clean and stocked.
  • Antibacterial hand soap in bathrooms is readily available.
  • If the law requires it, staff should be wearing masks covering their nose and mouth.
  • Tables and countertops should be visibly clean — bonus points if there’s signage that indicates when they were last sanitised/disinfected.
  • Signage reassurance that the venue is being cleaned and disinfected at regular intervals should be in plain sight, particularly around high-touch, high-traffic areas.

Playing your part

It is a concern to me that only around one in three people (31 per cent) think germs may be spread through poor personal hygiene, but we all have a responsibility to ensure we’re practising good hygiene whether we’re out shopping for new school shoes, books or toys, at the gym, out for dinner or when we’re at work.

When you’re looking for places to visit that are family-friendly, visit venues that follow Targeted Hygiene cleaning protocols, set positive examples for the next generation, and that are sticking to the latest government health advice. It’s important that we all do the right thing so that we can continue to protect our families and carry on doing the things we love to do together. And remember, these hygiene measures are not just to help reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 – they can help stop the spread of other germs.


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[11] Reckitt Toluna Tracker, Wave 16 (6/7/2021-6/13/2021)

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[14] Reckitt Toluna Tracker, Wave 16 (6/7/2021-6/13/2021)

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[16] Reckitt 2020, Streetbees Covid Tracker & Covid Behavioural Tracker