Summer 2013 Health Link Online

HealthLink Online

Uniting Children, Parents, Caregivers, and Health Professionals

This is a special issue of Health Link Online that will be mailed to all the center and home-based early education and child care programs overseen by the PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning. The mailing will go to programs regulated by the PA Department of Public Welfare, The PA Department of Education, and to Head Start grantees. ECELS encourages all early learning providers to sign up for E-Mail Alerts. Whenever there is a new issue of the newsletter or other important health and safety news, ECELS will send an E-Mail Alert. You can use the information on the ECELS newsletter to inform staff and families about staying healthy. 6/10/2013

Explore the new ECELS website at ECELS invites you to enjoy the familiar and the new functions. A main feature on the ECELS Home Page is a rotating set of 10 pictures, each with a topic description and an arrow that takes you to a list of items related to that topic. A different topic may appear each time you visit the website.   

Click on the boxes under the arrow to view all 10 topic lists. To open the list of items for a topic, click on the topic title or the arrow below the description of the topic. The 10 topic lists are: Age-specific Issues, Emergency Preparedness, Environmental Health, Health Care, Injury, Infectious Disease, Oral Health, Mental-Behavioral Health and Child Development, Nutrition, and Special Needs.

Note the menu bar that is at the top of every page on the website. You will see the titles of the main categories where we have placed items, and some handy links. On the top menu bar you can choose: Publications, Professional Development/Training, Tools, Resources, About ECELS, Contact Us and  Home. Explore each one to familiarize yourself with what is available. You can always return to the home page by clicking “Home” on this main menu bar on every page.

Be sure to look for and click on the gold button that says “Sign up for ECELS E-Mail Alert.” Even if you signed up on the old website, you need to sign up on the new website.  This e-mail listserv tool allows you to edit your contact information if it changes. ECELS sends an E-Mail Alert whenever we think you need to know some information right away.

The skin of infants and toddlers is more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation and to the absorption of chemicals than the skin of adults or older children. Sun exposure causes unhealthy changes in everyone's skin. Of the three types of ultraviolet radiation (UVR), UVA and UVB damage skin. Exposure during early childhood increases the risk of skin cancer and development of dark brown spots later in life.

Children should spend a lot of time outdoors. No matter what type or tone of skin they have, or how cloudy the day, their skin needs protection from sun damage. The best protection is wearing light weight, tightly-woven sun-protective hats and clothing outside. For exposed skin, children older than 6 months of age should use sunscreen and sun block products with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 to 50.

UVA and UVB rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. Use skin protection clothing, sun screen and provide shade where children play during those hours. To earn professional development credit, and learn more, use the Sun Safety Self-Learning Module on the ECELS website at In addition to reviewing sun safety facts, this module has a sun safety model policy that programs can adapt for their facility by adapting the wording and filling in the blanks. There is a form to use for parent/legal guardian consent to use sun safe practices such as applying sun screen. A special feature of the self-learning module is a whole section with activities to involve the children in learning about sun safety practices. There are separate activiities for infants, for toddlers, for preschool age children and for school age children. Using the activiities, the children and their teachers/caregivers can have fun in the sun and learn to be sun safe.  6/28/2013

Check out these four reliable Spanish-language child health and child care websites.

1. In June 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics introduced a Spanish-language website called en Español. This website has several interactive tools and features. The direct access to the Spanish-language content is:


KidsDoc Symptom Checker: parents enter information on their child's symptoms and learn to tell a minor illness from something serious

Ask the Pediatrician: users ask a question or read a list of common questions

Find a Pediatrician: users find a local, Spanish-speaking AAP-member pediatrician


      • Ages & Stages: information about health issues and developmental milestones for children
      • Healthy Living: current guidelines on fitness, sports, oral health, emotional wellness and nutrition
      • Safety & Prevention: how to prepare for health issues that can develop at home, in school or on the go; includes detailed information about childhood immunizations
      • Health Issues: provides an A-to-Z list of more than 300 health care topics.

ECELS-Healthy Child Care PA offers Self-Learning Modules, Workshops, In-Person Conferences, Audio conferences and Webinars. In addition, in collaboration with Northampton Community College, ECELS offers a 3 credit college course for directors and lead teachers to learn how to be Child Care Health Advocates.

Everyone wants a healthy environment for our children. We need to know what environmental conditions or contaminants threaten children in different settings, including child care. A recent report was released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The report is called “America’s Children and the Environment” or “ACE.” The ACE report provides details about exposures to a broad range of environmental stressors that can affect children’s health.

The PA DPW Bureau of Certification Services has a listserv that everyone who works with PA-regulated child care should join. The Bureau uses the Certification ListServ to relay regulation news and important guidance to subscribers via email. Follow these steps to sign up today!

Step 1: Click or copy and paste the link into your Web browser. Select "Join or Leave the list." Then fill in your name and email address.