When providing sanitation hardware solutions in emergencies, special attention should be given to the safe management of children’s faeces. Children’s faeces are generally more dangerous than adult faeces as excreta related infections are usually more prevalent in children, with a higher prevalence of diarrhoea and soil-transmitted helminth infections. The immune system of a child takes several years to develop and children may not have developed the necessary antibodies. In addition, toddlers and small children are often unable to fully control their defecation and children may defecate in areas where other children could be exposed (e.g. on the ground where children play, children may put contaminated fingers/objects into their mouths). Hence children are more susceptible to faecal-oral transmitted diseases. These can result in increased malnutrition, stunting and reduced cognitive abilities. Unfortunately, children’s faeces are often considered less harmful and therefore are often not properly collected or disposed of safely. Additionally, children may often not use a toilet because of their age, stage of physical development, or safety concerns of their parents. They might be afraid to use toilets for fear of falling in, bad smells, or a fear of dark spaces. Hence, addressing child excreta management includes the context-specific consideration of the following components:
Infrastructure: Sanitation hardware interventions should consider the specific needs of children. These include that public or shared toilet facilities are close to households, have proper lighting and are equipped with child-friendly user-interfaces such as smaller bowls or squat holes. The superstructure has to be large enough to be occupied by a parent or caregiver and child together. A children’s toilet can be further enhanced with child-friendly colourful artwork and picture-based hygiene messages.
Non-Food Items: For toddlers and small children the provision of age-appropriate faecal containment products such as nappies, diapers and potties needs to be considered. If disposable nappies or diapers are being used, there needs to be an adequate collection and management system (incl. hygiene promotion) in place with subsequent burial or treatment options. Washable nappies may be an alternative. If potties are being used the child faeces can be discarded or rinsed into the toilet and the potty cleaned with soap or disinfectant afterwards
Hygiene Promotion: Hygiene promotion X.12 measures for children’s faeces include the provision of information and training to parents and caregivers about safe disposal options, children’s toilet training, laundering practices, and actively advocating to prevent indiscriminate defecation and household contamination with child faeces. Hygiene promotion includes hygiene messages on the importance of handwashing with soap after contact with child excreta and washing the child after defecation. It may also include encouraging clean-up of already contaminated environments with shovels or other tools to avoid direct contact with children excreta.Consists of urine and faeces that are not mixed with any flushwater. Excreta is relatively small in volume, but concentrated in both nutrients and pathogens. Depending on the characteristics of the faeces and the urine content, it can have a soft or runny consistency.Refers to (semi-solid) excrement that is not mixed with urine or water. Depending on diet, each person produces approximately 50–150 L per year of faecal matter of which about 80 % is water and the remaining solid fraction is mostly composed of organic material. Of the total essential plant nutrients excreted by the human body, faeces contain around 39 % of the phosphorus (P), 26 % of the potassium (K) and 12 % of the nitrogen (N). Faeces also contain the vast majority of the pathogens excreted by the body, as well as energy and carbon rich, fibrous material.The liquid produced by the body to rid itself of nitrogen in the form of urea and other waste products. In this context, the urine product refers to pure urine that is not mixed with faeces or water. Depending on diet, human urine collected from one person during one year (approx. 300 to 550 L) contains 2 to 4 kg of nitrogen. The urine of healthy individuals is sterile when it leaves the body but is often immediately contaminated by coming into contact with faeces.A parasitic worm, i.e. one that lives in or on its host, causing damage. Some examples that infect humans are roundworms (e.g., Ascaris and hookworm) and tapeworms. The infective eggs of helminths can be found in excreta, wastewater and sludge. They are very resistant to inactivation and may remain viable in faeces and sludge for several years.Any substance that is used for growth. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are the main nutrients contained in agricultural fertilisers. N and P are also primarily responsible for the eutrophication of water bodies. An organism or other agent that causes disease.The means of safely collecting and hygienically disposing of excreta and liquid wastes for the protection of public health and the preservation of the quality of public water bodies and, more generally, of the environment. The above ground walls and roof built around a toilet or bathing facility to provide privacy and protection to the user. User interface used for urination and defecation. The organic molecule (NH2)2CO that is excreted in urine and that contains the nutrient nitrogen. Over time, urea breaks down into carbon dioxide and ammonium, which is readily used by organisms in soil. It can also be used for on-site faecal sludge treatment. See. S.18Used water from any combination of domestic, industrial, commercial or agricultural activities, surface runoff/stormwater, and any sewer inflow/infiltration.
WASHplus Weekly (2015): Management of Child Faeces: Current Disposal Practices. USAID