Behavior Profile: Safe Disposal of Child Feces
Improve maternal and child survival
Caregivers safely dispose of a child's feces
Percentage of households that report disposing of baby’s feces in their latrine

Behavior Analysis



What steps are needed to practice this behavior?

Caregivers safely dispose of child feces

  1. Help an older child use the toilet
  2. Help a younger child use a potty
  3. Dispose of baby or child feces in the toilet immediately
  4. Dig a hole and bury the baby or child feces if there is no toilet or latrine nearby
  5. If you need to wait before disposing or burying child feces in a chamber pot, cover it tightly
  6. Wash hands with soap under clean running water (you and child)


What factors may prevent or support practice of this behavior?
Accessibility: Caregivers who have access to an improved toilet are more likely to safely dispose of child feces.
Accessibility: Caregivers are less likely to safely dispose of child feces if water is not available in or near the toilet.
Family and Community Support: Caregivers who receive support from family members can ensure consistent potty use when they are busy, sick, or away from the home and child.
Norms: Caregivers do not safely dispose of child feces because it is considered harmless and natural and it is not common practice to dispose of it in their community or culture.
Attitudes and Beliefs: Caregivers do not allow children to use a latrine because they fear the child will become contaminated by adult feces, be bitten by vermin, or fall in.
Attitudes and Beliefs: Caregivers do not safely dispose of child feces in latrines because they perceive the transfer of feces into latrines as cumbersome and inconvenient.
Knowledge: Caregivers do not safely dispose of child feces because they feel that child feces is not unsafe (even though they feel that adult feces is).
Skills: Caregivers may not know how to teach their child to use the potty or latrine.


Who must support the practice of this behavior, and what actions must they take?
Policymakers: Amend health and sanitation policies to include specific language on child feces disposal.
Providers: Reinforce the importance and benefits of safe disposal of child feces, while providing child health services.
Private Sector: Develop, market, and support user-friendly toilets as well as associated products and services to facilitate safe child feces disposal.
Community Leaders: Support comprehensive local sanitation marketing efforts and latrine construction training to improve accessibility.
Teachers: Initiate school-based activities to assist with safe disposal of child feces, including potty use, transfer of feces to a toilet, and safe burial if no toilet is available.
Community and Religious Leaders: Share information about the danger of leaving child feces in the environment and the benefits of safe disposal of child feces.
Community Groups: Include potty training in MCH-related skill-building sessions.
Family Members: Assist with potty training and use.
Family Members: Enable household to have an improved, safe, and well-maintained toilet that is accessible for children (e.g. child seat, well-lit, secure cover, etc.) and has water nearby.
Family Members: Seek and share information about safe disposal of child feces, including its importance.


What strategies will best focus our efforts based on this analysis?

Strategy requires Communication Support

Enabling Environment
Financing: Provide financing or credit to households and businesses for improved water, sanitation, and hygiene products that will facilitate safe disposal of child feces.
Partnerships and Networks: Collaborate with local governments and others to bring clean water into or closer to households.
Policies and Governance: Adopt and enable an Open Defecation Free policy and sanitation regulations that include interventions and indicators for safe disposal of child feces.
Systems, Products and Services
Infrastructure: Ensure that all health facilities and child care centers have child-friendly toilets, handwashing facilities, and soap.
Products and Technology: Partner with the private sector to increase access to improved toilets and improved feces management tools, such as potties, diapers, child latrine seats, tools for retrofitting latrines for child use, scoopers, and running water.
Quality Improvement: Integrate child sanitation into existing interventions that target caregivers of young children such as MNCH services, nutrition, day care.
Quality Improvement: Develop and ensure nurse and community health worker training, as well as early childhood development materials and preschool programs, include information on safe child feces disposal and ways to help caregivers overcome related obstacles.
Demand and Use
Advocacy: Implement school programs to engage children in increasing demand for improved toilets, water, and safe disposal of child feces as well as assisting with disposal tasks as appropriate for their age.
Communication: Design and implement strategies such as mass, folk, and social media campaigns and direct consumer contact, promotion of aspirational messages, and training of community activists.
Collective Engagement: Strengthen, train, support, and monitor village health, hygiene, and nutrition committees to create awareness among communities about the risks of unsafe disposal of child feces and benefits and means of safe disposal of child feces.
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