Posted by: learningwoman | December 5, 2007

She wore gloves..

Z. and I were at a playgroup today, playing, talking, drinking coffee, juice, eating biscuits, when a woman I know came over near to where we were sitting, to get her bag.

Reaching in, she withdrew a pair of latex gloves and proceeded to pull them on, with much stretching and snapping into place. When she was done, she motioned to the little boy in front of me, (he was about Z’s age, 2) and said in a matter-of fact voice; 

” Come on! Time to get that smelly nappy changed.” He looked up and toddled his little self over to her, soft little face all wondering.

I asked her why she was wearing gloves and she explained to me that he’s not her child and that it’s good practice for childminders to wear gloves when changing a nappy.

This may well be true, it’s been a long time since I was a childminder but I couldn’t help wondering how that little boy felt. Whether he noticed and if he did, how he felt about the person he spends his days with having to don protective clothing to change his nappy. 

I know that there are lots of situations where these sort of measures would, in fact, be necessary but is this one of them? And if so why? I’m genuinely interested. Also, does the reason balance out well against the feelings of the child?

Just wondering…



  1. I know it is required for the caretakers at my son’s daycare to wear gloves. I never really thought about it until reading your post. I suppose it is good practice with privacy laws being what they are. You never know what the situation could be.

  2. I understand where you’re coming from, but I honestly don’t think a child of diaper-wearing age will think anything of a caretaker wearing gloves to change nappies. Many germs are passed from person to person through bodily fluids, so well-regulated daycares and nurseries always require that gloves be worn.

    If, however, the caregiver talks about how nasty it is in an other-than-playful way, and says degrading things, well, THAT would be harmful, and another problem all together.

    When we, as adults, are examined by gloved doctors and nurses I think we sometimes feel that “they think I’m dirty” feeling. I think though that it’s mostly those of us that are of a generation that remembers when people actually touched, before research and the reality of AIDS and other communicable diseases made touching dangerous.

  3. That was a considered response BeThisWay, thanks.
    You might be right, it just felt a little sad though. Maybe I was thinking of Z. and how it might feel for him.
    I’m hoping that childminder gives out hugs…….

  4. Thanks for your comment Blue Moon. It’s true, you never know what the situation could be.

  5. My daughter’s and son’s preschool teachers all use gloves to change diapers – they’re very calm and matter-of-fact about it: “We wash hands, we wear gloves, we use tissues… all to be safe and healthy.” The kids barely notice.

    I’m a little boggled when I stop and think about the sheer number of gloves they must go through in a day, but as long as it’s all done in a non-judgmental, comfortable sort of way, I think it’s best.

    We call it “universal precautions” in health care, acting as though everyone we meet might have a communicable disease rather than asking or worrying.

  6. I see what you mean Kate, maybe this stuff is still quite new here-I haven’t seen it before.
    I was having a hard time reconciling it with what I’ve been used to I guess.
    Since I’m not a childminder and my boys don’t spend time with childminders, I’ll move on 🙂

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