Choking is a common cause of Emergency Room visits for young children. Nearly two thirds of choking episodes are associated with foods. Choking on food causes the death of approximately one child in the United States every 5 days. Hot dogs account for 17% of choking episodes related to food. Hard candy, peanuts, whole grapes, raw carrots, apples, popcorn, chunks of peanut butter marshmallows, chewing gum and sausages cause choking too. Of non-food causes of choking, latex balloons are leading trouble-makers. In addition to balloons, small, round or cylindrical toys can block small air tubes.

Choking is a common cause of death for young children. Choking on food is most common. The food that is most often the cause is hot dogs. The most most frequent non-food cause is latex balloons. This one page fact sheet identifies what to do to prevent choking for young children. Use it as a handout or poster. Updated 6/2013.

Choking is a leading cause of injury among children. It can be fatal, especially in children 4 years of age or younger. Food and objects worn around the neck are common causes of choking. Young children should not wear any necklace-like objects that encircle their necks. Watch out for pacifier ribbons, teething ring necklaces, jewelry and clothing with tie strings.

Learn reasons and rationale for arranging for the services of a Child Care Health Consultant (CCHC). Explain the role of the CCHC and identify resources for help in locating a CCHC. View video segments accessible online. If you are unable to view the segments online, you can request a DVD that includes them by contacting ECELS.

A current poster with guidelines for CPR, including choking and first aid for other emergency conditions is aviailable from the American Academy of Pediatrics bookstore. The guidelines say give Compressions first, then check the Airway, and then support Breathing with mouth to nose and mouth or mouth-to-mouth breaths (C-A-B). The C-A-B sequence applies to adults, children and infants. It does not apply to newborns. The AA's "3-in-1 First Aid/Choking/CPR"poster/chart gives these instructions and gives brief instructions for what to do for common injuries too. Visit the AAP Bookstore to order copies of the new poster/chart.  Reviewed and updated 6/2013.

 In the United States, every day, about 10 people die from drowning. About one in five are children 14 years of age and younger. Five times more children survive near drowning. Children 1-4 years of age have the highest drowning rates. Drowning is second only to motor vehicle passenger and pedestrian accidents as the highest causes of unintentional injury-related death.

The attached ECELS Health and Safety Checklist includes references. It was updated December 2011 as Version 1.4. This tool guides the user to the appropriate national health and safety standard(s) and other related references for each item. Each item is cross-referenced with corresponding topics from: Caring for Our Children:  National Health and Safety Performance Standards, 3rd Edition, 2011 (CFOC) , the Environmental Rating Scales (ITERS-R, Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale - Revised Edition; ECERS-R, Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale - Revised Edition); and the Pennsylvania Child Care Facility Licensing Regulations.

The widely-used Emergency Information Form on the website of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) records key health information for children with special health care needs. It should be completed and kept up-to-date, ready to give to Emergency Service Personnel who may not be familiar with the child's needs. Early education and before and after school personnel should use the information on the form to prepare for care a child might need in the event of an emergency that involves only the child or the group in the facility. It documents the child's medical history, medications, and treatments. To view and download the form, go to the AAP website at www.aap.org, and then enter "Emergency Information Form" in the search box. 

ECELS staff prepared  an Emergency Plan Checklist that suggests items that would otherwise be overlooked. You can find other tools on this topic on the ECELS website by putting the term "emergency preparedness" into the search box on the ECELS website. Updated 11/2013.

ECELS recognizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Multi-hazard Planning for Child Care course as a quality learning experience for emergency planning. It has many worksheets and suggestions from experts that help child care providers make effective plans.

Section 13 of Model Child Care Health Policies, 5th edition includes polices that early educators can use to write "best practice" emergency plans. The Appendixes of Model Child Care Health Policies include some documents that every program should have on hand: Appendix I, Emergency Information Form for Children with Special Health Care Needs, Appendix CC. Incident Report Form, Appendix DD. Child Care Initial Rapid Damage Assessment, Appendix EE. Sample Letter of Agreement with Emergency Evacuation Site, Appendix FF. Sample Letter to Parents About Evacuation Arrangements, Appendix GG. Evacuation Drill Long.  If you prefer to purchase the hard copy of Model Child Care Health Policies, 5th edition, it is available from the bookstore of the American Academy of Pediatrics order it online or call 888-227-1770.

For state-authorized training credit: Download the Emergency Plan Checklist that follows this description of the self-learning module to identify the places where your emergency plan needs to be improved. Scan and e-mail or fax the following three documents to ECELS for 2 hours of state-authorized professional development credit that ECELS will enter into your PQAS transcript:

  1. Your certificate of successful completion of the FEMA course
  2. A copy of your facility's updated Emergency Plan
  3. A copy of your completed Emergency Plan Checklist showing your plans for improvement. ECELS T/TA staff will review your work and, if needed, give you feedback you can use to further improve your plan

Be sure to follow the instructions in the “Important Reminders” box next to the list of self-learning modules on this webpage to submit your work for review by ECELS. (K7-C3-84). Instructions updated 11/01/2013.