British kids ignore basic hygiene rules

High profile campaigns to improve general hygiene are not getting through to British kids according to new figures.

A survey of 3,000 six to ten-year-olds, commissioned by Tesco Child Health Insurance, reveals that more than a third (38%) fail to cover their nose and mouth every time they sneeze and almost as many have neglected to wash their hands after using the toilet.

The findings are especially worrying given the current concerns surrounding contagious viruses in the run up to the flu season.

Other results showed that:

  • A quarter of British children do not use a tissue to wipe their noses, typically opting for a sleeve or their hand instead. A fifth also admitted to having wiped their nose on a towel.
  • Children in London are more likely to use their sleeve than a tissue to wipe their nose. 
  • Kids in Northern Ireland come bottom of the hygiene table. Nearly half (49%) admit to not always washing their hands after going to the toilet and a similar number do not cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough.

Interestingly the research also showed that boys are more likely than girls to wash their hands after using the toilet. Alternatively it could show that girls are most honest in admitting to having forgotten!

Jeremy Sutton, head of Tesco Child Health Insurance says,

"Despite the recent focus on raising standards nationally, getting basic hygiene messages through to our kids clearly isn't easy. The figures show that it isn't just younger kids that are failing to meet basic standards: of the age groups taking part in the survey, it was the oldest group - the ten year olds - who were most likely to wipe their noses on their hands."


For more information and media enquiries please contact:

Tesco Bank press office

+44 (0) 131 274 3630 

Notes for Editors:

Survey of 3,000 British children aged 6-10 years old by YoungPoll between 24 and 29 September 2009.

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