Information for Parents of Young Children

Children younger than 5 years are the most likely to get shigellosis, but people of all ages can get the disease 1. Many outbreaks are related to childcare settings and schools, because Shigella germs spread from young children to their family members and others in their community. Learn more about how to prevent Shigella infections in children below.

Prevention and Control

Shigella germs spread when people put something in their mouths or swallow something that has come into contact with the stool (poop) of someone sick with Shigella. Children may get Shigella germs on their hands by touching surfaces (for example, toys, bathroom fixtures, changing tables, diaper pails) that a sick person used.

washing child hands

Protect your family and community from shigellosis by following these steps.

  • Everyone should wash hands with soap and water:
    • Before preparing food or eating, and
    • After using the bathroom or changing diapers.
  • Supervise handwashing of toddlers and small children after they use the bathroom. Wash your hands and your infant’s hands with soap and water after diaper changes.
  • Do NOT prepare food if you are sick.
  • Do NOT share food with anyone if you or your family members are sick.
  • Stay home from childcare and school while sick or until your health department says it’s safe to return.
  • Dispose of soiled diapers properly, and clean diaper changing areas after using them.
  • Avoid taking your child swimming or to group water play venues for one week after their diarrhea has gone away.
Fact Sheet: Does Your Child Have Diarrhea?
Does Your Child Have Diarrhea?

Message: Overview of Shigella infections: Symptoms, prevention measures, and steps to get better.
Audience: General public.

Web: Does Your Child Have Diarrhea?

Fact Sheet: Does Your Child Have Diarrhea? pdf icon[PDF – 538K]


  1. Adams DA, Jajosky RA, Ajani U, Kriseman J, Sharp P, Onwen DH, Schley AW, Anderson WJ, Grigoryan A, Aranas AE, Wodajo MS, Abellera JP. Summary of notifiable diseases–United States, 2012. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2014;61(53):1-121.