Parents View Back-to-School as a ‘Germy Affair’


While back-to-school means books and backpacks, it also signals the start of the cold and flu season. As parents and teachers will attest, put a group of youngsters together in a classroom and sickness can spread quickly. In fact, according to a national Healthy Hand Washing Survey conducted by Bradley Corporation, nearly half of parents say their children missed between two and five days of school last year due to a cold or the flu. What’s more, approximately one-third expect their child to come home sick within the first couple of weeks.

Evidently, parents have learned their lesson since the majority plan to deliver a back-to-school hand washing pep talk with a clear message – always wash after using the restroom. And, not to be missed, they’ll emphasize benefits of regular hand washing – specifically the fact that hand washing kills germs and prevents illness.



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On the topic of germs, when asked about the “germiest” places in school, hands-down parents listed restrooms and shared computer keyboards. Drinking fountains came in third, followed by desks, classroom surfaces and toys.

Outside of school, the survey found that the overwhelming majority of parents have house rules for lathering up. Parents require their children to wash their hands after using the bathroom and insist on it before meals. Interestingly, the survey revealed that parents tell their kids to hit the sink after playing video games.handwashing-school-kids


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“Whether you’re young or old, hand washing is an easy way to help prevent illness,” says Jon Dommisse, director of global marketing and strategic development at Bradley Corp. “It’s important to vigorously scrub the front and back of your hands for at least 20 seconds. And, contrary to popular belief, the temperature of the water doesn’t matter – either hot or cold will do.”

Bradley Corp. is a leading manufacturer of commercial plumbing fixtures, washroom accessories, restroom partitions, emergency fixtures and solid plastic lockers and has executed the Healthy Hand Washing Survey for the past eight years.


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The annual survey queried 1,062 American adults online about their hand washing habits in public restrooms and concerns about germs, colds and the flu. The survey also posed questions to parents about their children’s hand hygiene and back-to-school preparation. Participants were from around the country, were 18 years and older, and were fairly evenly split between men and women (47 and 53 percent).