Wash down guidelines

Wash down facility (body wash)

In the greater Wellington region we take into consideration a range of risk factors that form our recommendations for body wash facilities.

These include:

  • Centre size
  • Centre design and placement of wash down facility in relation to classrooms
  • Total roll, including teaching staff
  • Number of children under the age of two
  • Deprivation area rating and illness hospitalisation statics
  • Outbreak levels in the surrounding centres
  • Outbreak history in similar service design.

You can read our risk assessment matrix that outlines how we make our recommendations.

Wash down procedure

The procedure must be specific to:

  • The centre’s wash down facilities. 
  • The number and age range of the children.
  • The ethnicity and/or cultural background of the children.
  • The number of staff and helpers.

These situations can be emotionally traumatic for a child, so it is important that staff and helpers should always be familiar with the centre’s wash down procedure.

The procedure should cover: 

  • The child - A focus on the privacy and personal dignity of the child, and making the child comfortable. It is recommended that the child is cared for by a staff member they have a connection with.
  • Supervision – Supervision plan.
    Include: the role teachers and support staff will have when a sick and soiled child is being wash down that comforts and protects the child and staff. 
  • Wash down facility – Instructions on how to use the plumbed in shower or shub to prevent the spread of illness.
  • Clean up of wash down area – How to effectively clean up the wash down area.
    Include: Wash the area and equipment with hot soapy water, then spray down with a 1:10 bleach solution and left to dry in the air.
  • Soiled clothing – Instructions on cleaning and storing.
    Include: Do not rinse. Remove any solid poos/vomit then double bag and stored in an area (laundry) that is not accessible to children until collected by parents.
  • Staff health and safety – It is important that staff involved in washing the children wear personal protective equipment or PPE; gloves, masks and disposable apron and are aware of the correct way to put on and remove the protective equipment. Once the child is washed down wipes, washcloths, protective clothing and equipment must be disposed of carefully. All soiled or contaminated clothing or disposable equipment should be double bagged. Care should be taken when opening the bag not to breathe in viral particles released from the bag.
  • Record keeping – Record the event in your incident register and in the child’s personal file.
  • Spill Kit contents – items required for washing the child and cleaning up an area contaminated by vomit or diarrhoea. Include - A list of the spill kit contents, and regular checks to make sure it is fully stocked. Below we outline the required items.

Attach the procedure to a wall in a visible location by the wash down area. We recommend that a spill kit be placed in an accessible location.


Download printable factsheet

Last updated 14 July 2022.