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February is Dental Health Month - this year's campaign slogan is "Brush and clean in between to build a healthy smile!” Oral health is essential to overall health. Take steps to improve the oral health of children in your care.
Consider educating families, staff, and children about the importance of oral health to overall health by:
1. Engaging children in a daily oral health routine using the Classroom Circle Brushing poster http://www.ecels-healthychildcarepa.org/tools/posters
2. Identifying resources to help promote oral health care such as:
• Brush, Book, Bed, https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/oral-health/Pages/Brush-Book-Bed.aspx, a program of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), has a simple and clear message for parents:

•Free resources from the American Dental Association (ADA), including posters and activity sheets for kids, at: https://www.ada.org/en/public-programs/national-childrens-dental-health-month.
• Cavity Free Kids at http://cavityfreekids.org/, an oral health education for young children and their families designed for uses including early care and education.
• Oral Health Resources http://paheadstart.org/oral-health/oral-health-resources/
3. Helping to find a dentist, using the following links:
• American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry – Find a Pediatric Dentist: http://www.aapd.org
• American Dental Association – Find a Dentist: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/find-a-dentist.aspx Pennsylvania Dental Association: http://www.padental.org
• Find Dentists Accepting Medical Assistance: http://www.InsureKidsNow.gov
• Pennsylvania Head Start’s Initiative Healthy Smiles, Happy Children: A Dentist for Every Child http://paheadstart.org/index.php/oral-health/

Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards, 4th Edition (CFOC4) is now available online at the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education (NRC) http://nrckids.org/CFOC. The print version is available from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), bookstore for $64.95.

These national standards represent the best evidence expertise and experience in the country on quality health and safety practices and policies that should be followed in early care and education settings.  CFOC4 includes a chart with a list of the standards that have been updated since CFOC3.
CFOC4 features 10 chapters of more than 650 standards and dozens of appendixes with valuable supplemental information, forms, and tools.

KEY FEATURES
• More than 100 updated standards and appendixes
• Updated appendixes, including Signs and Symptoms Chart, Recommended Immunization Schedule, and Recommendations for Preventive Pediatric Health Care
• Completely revised and updated topics on environmental health, infectious diseases, and nutrition

Did you know…
ECELS has valuable tools to help you meet the new STARS Standard LM.2.5 Program uses Caring for Our Children to establish policies and practices regarding care plans for children with special needs, asthma, medical needs, food allergies, and medication administration. 

1. Use Model Child Care Health Policies, 5th Ed. form-field version to adapt a policy for your program.  See Section 10-Health Plan, items E, F, and Appendix X - Medication Administration Packet.  Model Child Care Health Policies, 5th Ed. is consistent with Caring for Our Children, 3rd Ed. online (CFOC3).
2. Use the ECELS Care Plan for Children with Special Needs and Process to Enroll documents.  
3. Use the ECELS Self-Learning Module, Children with Medical and Developmental Special Needs, Inclusive Practices to educate staff about caring for children with special needs,  using care plans and making adaptations. (2 hours credit)

If you have questions about these tools, please send an email with your contact information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sign-up on this website to receive E-Mail Alerts from ECELS about news or key new postings on this website. Please click on the orange button on the home page to access this function. In addition, child care health consultants have an opportunity to request access to a password-protected site where ECELS is posting lesson plans for qualified instructors. To access this function, select the role "Health Professional, Child Care Health Consultant, Child Care Health Advocate" at the bottom left of the home page, and then click on the button "Health Consultant Registration" for the log-in request. Updated 4/8/14.

Reduce the risk of influenza (flu) in your early care and education program this year.  See the flu article and resources.

Now is a good time to remind infant caregivers of safe sleep recommendations and the prohibition of use of blankets.  See the Infant Safe Sleep Reommendations.   10/2018 

Many children receive gifts made of plastic over the holidays. Children may bring these items to the early education and child care program. Caring for Our Children, 3rd edition (CFOC3) Standard 5.2.9.9: Plastic Containers and Toys says: “The facility should use infant bottles, plastic containers, and toys that do not contain Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Bisphenol A (BPA), or phthalates. When possible, caregivers/teachers should substitute materials such as paper, ceramic, glass, and stainless steel for plastics.” ….

Products children touch and use should be labeled “phthalate-free” or “BPA-free” or certified by Toy Safety Certification Program (TSCP) or American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Check the symbol on the bottom of all plastic items including toys. Seven distinct types are labeled with a number code generally found on the bottom of the object. Best plastic choices are labeled 1, 2, 4, 5 and plastics labeled “phthalate-free” or “BPA-free”; avoid plastics labeled 3, 6, and 7. For more detail, see the full text of CFOC3 Standard 5.2.9.9.