Kids are cute, but also gross. This is something every parent is already well aware of, but having it quantified by survey data is still… unsettling.
According to the results of a survey of Singaporean parents and guardians released today, 25% reported that their children did not wash their hands after using the bathroom or before they eat and more than half (56%) said they did not use soap every time they wash their hands.
The results of the online panel survey were based on data collected from 500 parents and guardians of children in Singapore between the ages of six and 12. Most of the respondents answered the questions on their kid’s hygiene habits while their children were with them. The survey was carried out by first-party data platform Dynata and commissioned by soap brand Lifebuoy.
Everybody remembers the massive public health messaging effort from the early days of the pandemic emphasizing the importance of thorough handwashing to prevent the spread of the disease. According to the survey, that message has stuck with parents, with 81% saying they have increased their expectations of how often their children should wash their hands per day and 73% increasing the length of time they want their kids to wash their hands.
But only one-quarter of parents or guardians surveyed said they’ve taught their children to wash their hands for a full 20 to 30 seconds (as recommended by WHO guidelines).
We should note that a 2021 survey found that, while Singaporean adults were washing their hands more often due to the pandemic, 80% said they washed their hands for less than the recommended 20 seconds. And we’re guessing the percentage has continued to drop in recent months as pandemic anxieties have subsided (even as the tenacious Covid-19 XBB subvariant has caused case numbers in Singapore to rise once again).
And to be fair to Singaporean kids, they seem to have better hygiene habits than some of their international peers. A similar survey taken in the UK in 2020 found that four in ten parents said it was difficult to get their children to wash their hands after using the toilet while one-third said their offspring didn’t remember to wash their hands after coughing.