Paediatric Infection prevention – what’s different?

Author: Scott S

Infection Prevention and Control, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.



For the Infection Preventionist (IP) working in a tertiary paediatric centre or managing paediatric patients within a general acute setting the challenge is to adapt Infection Prevention guidelines and strategies within a child/family centered framework to prevent hospital acquired infections (HAI).

International and national infection prevention guidelines and strategies do not generally address any differences that a paediatric patient may pose when implementing these for children and families.

Identifying and acknowledging such differences as discussed in the presentation will facilitate the practical implementation of these guidelines and strategies for the IP.


Determine the factors influencing susceptibility to infections by developmental stage.

Identify the risk factors for HAI to enable the IP to implement and adapt known infection prevention guidelines and strategies for their particular paediatric setting.


Standard and Transmission Based Precautions can be readily adapted to minimise the risk to the paediatric patient acquiring an infection during hospitalisation.  Environmental controls and cleaning protocols can also be developed to support risk reduction.

Parents and carers who undertake personal and procedural care of their children can be educated in their responsibilities to minimise risks. Opportunistic immunisation for patients and routine adult immunisations for health care workers reduces the likelihood of the spread of vaccine preventable diseases.

Surveillance of bacterial and viral infections can be used an outcome measure and identify trends. Care strategies including aseptic technique and hand hygiene can reduce transmission risk in this population.


The risk of acquiring an infection during hospitalization is dependent of several factors including age, developmental stage, immunity, ‘care by parent”, invasive procedures and underlying illness or co morbidities.

For the IP these differences should be considered when adapting Infection Prevention guidelines and strategies within a child/family centered framework to prevent hospital acquired infections.

Disclosure of interest statement: The authors have no conflicts to declare and no funding was received by the author in connection to the work presented.

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