LONDON, June 2 /PRNewswire/ --

LONDON, June 2 /PRNewswire/ --

A new survey reveals more than three quarters - 84% - of the country's mums are unknowingly teaching their kids the incorrect routine when it comes to handling coughs and sneezes.

However, we all know mums want the best for their family so help is now at hand in the form of a new children's booklet featuring popular character Dirty Bertie and a new nursery rhyme teaching children how to avoid spreading germs.

The survey also showed 50% of mums struggle to get their kids to adopt the right routine, so the new story follows a day of hygiene horrors, with Bertie coughing and sneezing over family and friends before finally learning the right behaviour thanks to expert advice from his canine companion, Whiffer.

The booklet will also be a part of nurse-led educational sessions at children's activity centre Gymboree. At the sessions, the new 21st century nursery rhyme will also be unveiled, which has been especially composed to help tissue techniques stick in youngsters' minds, helping mum get the message through to them.

The survey of 1,000 mums, commissioned by the Department of Health as part of its CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT campaign, revealed:

- 52% incorrectly instruct youngsters to cover their nose or mouth with their hand, rather than a tissue, every time they cough or sneeze - 100% don't tell their children to wash their hands after sneezing or coughing into them, meaning germs are immediately spread to the next surface or person the child touches - 40% of mums feel frustrated that illness may spread to other family members

The Department of Health is running the CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT campaign to raise awareness of the importance of practising good respiratory and hand hygiene. The spread of colds, flu and other illnesses can be reduced by following three simple steps:

- CATCH IT - Germs spread easily. Always carry tissues and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. - BIN IT - Germs can live for several hours on tissues. Dispose of your tissue as soon as possible. - KILL IT - Hands can transfer germs to every surface you touch. Clean your hands as soon as you can.

Professor Lindsey Davies, National Director of Pandemic Influenza Preparedness, added: "We know that parents want the best for their family, so this new Dirty Bertie booklet, Gymboree events and nursery rhyme are all designed to make learning the CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT routine easy and fun, and will help families stay healthy at all times of year."

For further information, to arrange an interview, receive a copy of the Dirtie Bertie booklet or the nursery rhyme please contact The Red Consultancy: Mani Reel: +44(0)20-7025-6584;; For out of office hours enquiries please contact Kate Gillman on +44(0)7787-148-453