Reopening of crèches: health protocol and priority babies

Réouverture des crèches : protocole sanitaire et bébés prioritaires

The Ministry of Health has just unveiled the health protocol and the criteria for the reopening of nurseries and the reception of babies under three years of age.

[Mise à jour du 8 mai à 12h01]. This May 8, Christelle Dubos, Secretary of State to the Minister of Solidarity and Health, presented the health protocol concerning childcare arrangements, as well as the criteria determining which parents would have priority for the care of their children. “Faced with a health situation unprecedented in our recent history, the reception of young children must adapt to allow their parents to resume their activity. We are aware that these rules will weigh on the exercise of professionals and parents. But these are the rules that will limit the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible ” said Christelle Dubos. The crèches therefore open under conditions from May 11, but unlike schools, only 10 babies can be accommodated at the same time.

While the capacity is reduced, not all parents will be able to keep their children at the crèche as they did before confinement. To avoid the puzzle of reception criteria, the Ministry of Education has just clarified which babies could be given priority in crèches, micro-crèches, parental crèches, day nurseries and even kindergartens:

  • The children of personnel essential to the management of the epidemic, as has been the case since the start of containment,
  • The teachers’ children,
  • Children of single parents and single-parent families,
  • Children whose parents both work and cannot work at home.

Wearing a mandatory mask for early childhood professionals

“When the nurseries reopen, we will stick to what is done in hospital nurseries“explains Elsa *. For example, early childhood professionals wear masks which they remove when they are more than a meter away from the child so that the child can see their face.” notes that babies are not “terrorized” in the presence of an adult who wears a mask and that after a period of adaptation, the children do it perfectly “.

Masks are mandatory for all early childhood professionals “when it is impossible to respect the physical distance of at least 1 meter with children and when traveling or grouping between professionals. The same is true for other people present in childcare centers (spouse, children over 10, etc.) The wearing of a general public mask is also compulsory for parents when interacting with professionals.

Remember that for children under 0-3 years old, wearing a mask is prohibited. For kindergarten and elementary school students (children from 3 to 10 years old), wearing a mask is not recommended.

Hand washing

Early childhood professionals must wash their hands in the morning before contact with children, food, before and after each change or visit to the toilet, after blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing, at least all two hours. The little ones will also have to wash their hands on arrival, before and after the meal, the nap, the change or the passage to the toilets and before their departure. However, hydroalcoholic gel is not recommended for toddlers due to the risk of ingestion.

Health measures to change babies

Currency exchange plans are disinfected in the morning or in the evening, and the equipment (wipes, diapers, gloves, towels, etc.) must be prepared beforehand. Diapers and waste should immediately be thrown in a bin with a lid opening without hands, with a lined bin bag. The changing table must be cleaned between each change and the space must be disinfected at least twice a day (taps, sink, etc.).

Rules for dropping off your baby

To limit the risk of the virus spreading, parents will no longer enter reception areas. “Instead, we can make a reception on the ground, that is to say that the father or the mother deposits his child and that an early childhood professional would then pick him up“.

Daily cleaning of the premises

The premises must be cleaned daily and more complete disinfection must be carried out in the event of Covid-19. “We will wash everything, every day and we even ask for two sets of toys, to allow the Monday games to be washed on Tuesday. They would then be put back into service on Wednesday and so on to alternate every other day. ” Otherwise, fabrics should be washed at 60 ° C and wooden toys will be replaced with plastic toys.


In this epidemic period, the recommendations are more strict with toddlers: ban on gathering times, or joint activities with babies so that children do not cross paths. “We could also suggest to the section ways to make a toboggan, and the next day, it would be the turn of the older section, with disinfection in the meantime”.

Less than 10 babies

Edouard Philippe declared that crèches could not not accommodate more than 10 babies in order to best respect the rules of social distancing. “In a crèche which has 40 places with an activity room, a dormitory, a bedroom … We will instead welcome only 30 children, who will be divided into different sections to create small groups“explains Elsa Hervy. This capacity being reduced, crèches will have to give priority to parents in telework, single-parent families, or nursing staff and teachers.

  • Exceptionally, childminders at home will be able to accommodate up to 6 children.
  • Groupings of childminders accompanied by the children in their care remain impossible in the premises of the family crèche. They can nevertheless meet alone, without babies.

And in kindergartens?

For Isabelle, Atsem and founder of the Atsem National collective, it is almost impossible to respect social distancing with toddlers. In nursery school, for example, children are often not clean:“we change them regularly, because sometimes there are small accidents” says the early childhood specialist. The promiscuity is therefore great: “in addition to pedagogical and educational aid, children’s hygiene is essential. We help them dress, take off their shoes, blow their noses … “

The recommendations of the Academy of Medicine

In a press release dated April 23, the Academy of Medicine recommended, with a view to reopening the nurseries, to accommodate only one parent in an entrance airlock, so that they can take the baby’s temperature in the morning. If they have a fever, the infant will need to see a doctor and go home. The Academy of Medicine also recommends wearing a mask and a gown, changed daily for baby care and meals. The crèche staff must respect strict hygiene, washing their hands regularly between each baby, when changing and preparing bottles. It will also be necessary to “take into consideration the possibility of faecal elimination of Sars-CoV-2 during the handling and elimination of the layers”, specifies the press release.

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