Questions Families Ask

Infection Prevention

Connecticut Children’s takes special precautions to keep your child and family safe. We make every effort to prevent infection, which includes educating our visitors on the risks of infection and providing ways to protect against the spreading of germs.

Health care associated infections (nosocomial infections) are often preventable. At Connecticut Children’s, you can be assured that your child’s health care team has partnered with an infection preventionist (an expert who specializes in ways to prevent infection) to ensure proven methods are used to keep your child and family safe during your stay.

Although you may not see the infection preventionist during your stay, you will notice infection prevention at work everywhere throughout the facility:

  • Hand sanitizer gels and foams
  • Hand washing sinks
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Cover Your Cough and Hand Hygiene signs
  • Gloves, gowns and masks worn by health care providers
  • Environmental services cleaning staff
  • Isolation signs
  • Flu tags on all staff ID badges indicating that they have received the flu shot

During visits to Connecticut Children’s, we want you to speak up.  You do not need to feel shy about asking for more information about your child’s care.  If you have a concern, feel free to ask about it.

  • Before receiving an injection, ask if the needle and syringe have been newly opened for your child
  • If you have not seen the healthcare staff who cares for your child either wash their hands or use an alcohol rub, ask them to do so
  • If your child has a catheter in their bladder or vein, tell the nurse if it becomes loose or painful
  • Ask your doctor if your child should wash with antiseptic soap before a surgical procedure
  • Ask your provider if your child needs any shots or vaccines
  • If you think that the equipment in your room or the space you are in looks dirty, ask to have it cleaned
  • If your child’s bandage (also called a dressing) gets wet, loose or feels uncomfortable, let your nurse know

Surgical Site Infections

Most patients who have surgery remain free of infection. However, about three out of 100 patients who have surgery acquire some kind of infection in the part of the body where the surgery took place (surgical site). Surgical site infections can lead to other problems, including some that are serious or life-threatening. Sometimes, patients have to stay in the hospital longer than expected, in order to recover from infection after surgery.

What is Connecticut Children’s doing to prevent surgical site infections?

Our doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers:

  • Wash their hands with an antiseptic agent or alcohol-based hand rub before and after caring for your child
  • Wear special clothing, hair covers, masks, gowns and gloves during surgery to keep the surgery area clean
  • Keep your child warm with an air blanket during surgery
  • Clean the skin at the surgical site with a special soap that kills germs

What does my child’s surgical team do to prevent surgical site infections?

  • The operating room has positive pressure ventilation, meaning that the air flows away from the operating room, keeping the operating room air clean
  • Between each case, all surfaces and equipment in the surgery environment are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected
  • Each surgical case uses instruments that have been sterilized
  • The surgical team wears surgical clothing and uses sterile drapes
  • The surgical team has expertise in working together to assure sterile techniques
  • Antibiotics are administered to your child at the right time to assure that they are most effective in preventing infection
  • Your child’s team will remove hair at the incision site only if necessary, using electric clippers

How can I help prevent a surgical site infection?


Before surgery:

  • Tell your care team about other medical problems your child has, including surgical site infection after a previous surgery or any other serious infection, or health concerns such as allergies and cold and flu symptoms
  • Diabetes and obesity could affect your child’s surgery and treatment, so if your child has diabetes, monitor and make every effort to control their blood sugar
  • Do not shave where your child will have surgery since shaving with a razor can irritate their skin and make it easier to develop an infection
  • Shower and wash your child’s hair the morning of surgery, and do not apply lotions, powders, hair spray or make-up
  • Put clean clothes on your child after bathing
  • Notify the physician’s office if your child has a skin infection, rash or sores prior to surgery

At the time of surgery:

  • Speak up if you do not see a provider wash their hands
  • Ask if your child will take antibiotics before the surgery starts and if additional doses will be given during the procedure

After surgery:

  • Make sure physicians and staff wash their hands before examining your child – if you do not see them clean their hands, ask them to do so
  • Family and friends should clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before and after visiting your child

What do I need to do when I take my child home from surgery?

Before you go home, your child’s physician or nurse will explain everything you need to know about taking care of your child’s wound. Make sure you understand how to care for the wound before you leave Connecticut Children's. Make sure you know whom to contact if you have questions or problems after you get home. If your child has any symptoms of an infection, such as redness and pain at the surgery site, drainage or fever, call your doctor immediately.

Before and after surgery it is important to keep your child’s and your environment as clean as possible:

  • Use clean linens
  • Use disinfectants to clean surfaces such as bathroom fixtures
  • Dress your child in clean clothing
  • Do not allow pets in your child’s bed while you they recovering from surgery
  • Do not change your child’s dressing or remove it unless instructed to do so
  • Keep the surgical site dry and notify your doctor if the dressing gets wet
  • Always clean your hands before and after caring for your child’s wound

Isolation Precautions

When visiting Connecticut Children’s, you may notice that some patients are placed on “isolation.” This occurs when a pediatric patient has an infection, or a possible infection, that is easily spread to other people. The people who care for these patients often wear gloves, gowns or a special mask to prevent spreading infections to themselves and other patients.

What are isolation precautions?

Isolation precautions are a special way to stop germs from spreading. Sometimes a patient may have a condition that requires extra steps to protect visitors, other patients and hospital staff. If your child is placed on isolation, a sign will be placed on his or her door with instructions explaining the steps of protection. Isolation precautions remain in place until a patient can no longer pass an infection on to others.

What kind of isolation precautions might be needed?

  • Airborne Precautions are used with germs that are spread through the air, like tuberculosis or chickenpox - visitors must check with the patient’s nurse before entering the room
  • Contact Precautions are used when germs can easily be spread by contact with skin, body fluids or with patient items in the room - parents and visitors must wear a gown and gloves
  • Droplet Precautions are used for germs spread by coughing, sneezing or talking - parents and visitors must wear a mask, gloves and gowns at all times while in the room

Patients in isolation may have visitors. Parents and visitors must follow the instructions on the isolation signs, and hands must be washed with alcohol hand rub when entering and as you leave the room. Gowns, gloves and masks worn inside the patient room are thrown away inside the patient room or at the doorway as you leave the room.

To maintain safety, your child must not leave the room without permission from his or her nurse. Patients in isolation may have books, magazines, receive mail and use the phone, however the nurse must give permission to take anything into or out of your child’s room.