1. Cleaning hands after the fountain
A study of germs on contact surfaces in elementary classrooms found “Influenza A virus was detected on up to 50% and norovirus on up to 22% of surfaces throughout the day,” with the most common surface being water fountain toggles. With this in mind, it’s key to teach kids to clean their hands after using a public fountain. Providing your child with a small, clip-on hand sanitizer for their backpack or lunch box can make cleaning hands throughout the day more accessible.
2. Filter on-the-go
Sending your child to school with a filter water bottle is an excellent way to guarantee they’re consuming clean water. Aquasana offers a stainless steel filter bottle that instantly removes more than 99% of bacteria, lead, chlorine, cryptosporidium, and giardia from any tap water, leaving you with peace of mind and your child with access to healthy drinking water at all times.
3. Never put your mouth on a water spout
To avoid spreading and picking up germs while drinking water at school, it’s key to teach your child not to touch their lips to a water fountain spout or envelope the spout in their mouth. If you’ve noticed your child has a habit of doing this, it can be good to flag it with his or her teacher.
4. Bottle your own
The most effective way to avoid possible contaminants in and on water fountains is to stop drinking from them altogether. Providing your child with a reusable bottle filled with filtered water from home each day is an affordable and sustainable alternative to drinking from the public fountains at school.
5. Reach out to local officials
For a solution with a little more scale, we encourage concerned parents to call on their local representatives to get more funding for water infrastructure in their community’s schools. The greater the school resources, the easier it is to regularly clean and maintain school water fountains, replace older pipes likely to leach lead into the water supply, or install filtering systems at schools.
As advocates for healthy drinking water, helping parents ensure their kids have access to plenty of clean, safe water this back-to-school season is an issue that is near and dear to us. May you and your kids have a happy, healthy, and hydrated school year!