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Children avoid school toilets

15th October 2010

A new survey has highlighted how children are being deterred from using toilets in secondary schools because they are dirty.

hand sanitizer

School toilets also attract bullies and smokers, which is also putting many pupils off using them.

Scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine surveyed 300 schoolchildren ahead of Global Handwashing Day and found that some 25% avoided school toilets if possible.

In addition, 36% said their toilets were never clean, with 42% saying soap was only available sometimes, and 19% said there was never any soap.

Nearly 40% of secondary school girls waited until the last moment to avoid going to the toilet while 16% of secondary school boys were wary of using school toilets.

However, the situation was not as bad in primary schools where 150 pupils who were questioned reported fewer problems.

Dr Val Curtis, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine's Hygiene Centre, who led the research, said: “Our survey has found hand washing in Britain's schools to be less than ideal.

“It would be easy to blame laziness on the part of the kids for this state of affairs, but clearly the problem lies with inadequate and dirty facilities, particularly in secondary schools.”

She also warned that Britain’s 12 million cases of norovirus, gastroenteritis, MRSA, E coli and swine flu infections are mainly down to dirty hands.

She said action needed to be taken over the condition of school toilets.

The Department of Education urged schools to take a common sense approach to keeping toilets clean and safe.

 

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