Properly functioning Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems reduce health problems. They dilute infectious particles in the air, so people in the facility don’t get sick easily. Good ventilation controls odors and reduce pollutants. They also remove dust and dirt, keeping the facility cleaner.

Anaphylaxis is a dangerous and sudden body reaction that involves two or more organ systems. An allergy to some substance causes the reaction. This may be something that has not caused any symptoms in the past. The reaction might involve skin and the linings of the mouth and throat. If so, you could see hives or flushing of the skin and swelling of the lips, tongue or the back of the throat. The respiratory system might be affected causing shortness of breath, wheezing, croupy sounds, and blue tint to the lips and skin. Other symptoms are cramps, abdominal pain or vomiting.

Summer is a great time to see animals at a local fair or farm, to visit a petting zoo, or to have animals come visit an early education and child care facility. As cute as baby goats, ducklings and other animals can be, many of these animals carry germs that can make people sick.

Here are five ways to make visits with animals a safe, fun and healthy experience for all.

Hand Washing: Children and caregivers should wash their hands with soap and water after petting animals, touching animals, or even being in the animal area. Everyone in the group should wash hands whether or not they touched the animals. Find out in advance if soap and water are available. Don't visit if you find out the facility doesnít provide hand washing facilities. You can use hand sanitizers for children with visibly clean hands who are 24 months or older, but some animal germs are resistant to alcohol. As a make-do until you can get to soap and water, carry a plastic bag of paper towels wet with soapy water and a bag of paper towels just wet with plain water to clean and rinse the children's hands. Wash with running water as soon as you can.

General information for parents and caregivers about the adverse effects of smoking on children with asthma. Second-hand smoke is produced by adults smoking in the air children breathe or smoking elsewhere and carrying smoke on their clothing and bodies. Second-hand smoke harms children. Read this fact sheet for details. Written 2004. Reviewed and reaffirmed 11/2011. 

Observers of early education programs often hear background music played by an electronic device. Some of these devices have screens; some do not. Unless the music plays a role in the activity, turn it off.

Recently, ECELS Pediatric Advisor Dr. Susan Aronson asked nationally recognized Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician, Dr. Heidi Feldman, MD, PhD to share what she knew about the impact of background music or noise in general on language learning. Dr. Feldman noted that environmental audiologists have measured the ratio of signal (what we want children to hear) to noise in class-rooms. She noted: “It is shockingly small, 3 to 5 decibels.” For children with weak language or attention, she said that this minimal difference in sound level makes listening and understanding language challenging.

This workshop highlights special practices needed to protect staff and children from contact with blood or other potentially infectious body fluids. Learn how to minimize risk of exposure to disease causing pathogens (germs, viruses, etc.) Learn how to meet Standard Precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements. Explore the adequacy of your facility's policies and Exposure Control Plan. Discuss how to handle a biting incident.

These five separate two hour interactive workshops are available individually or as a series.  The workshops highlight Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Standards using excerpts from the Caring for Our Children Video Series.

This workshop teaches early learning practitioners how to recognize and manage occupational health risks, drawing on the content in Caring for Our Children: the National Health and Safety Performance Standards. Addresses management of stress, infectious disease risks and musculo-skeletal (ergonomic) challenges intrinsic to providing child care. Includes assessment of personal and work-site health promotion strategies.

The CDC is a comprehensive source of information on public health issues, including immunization, sanitation, and infectious disease. The CDC provides a large library of information to the public on many topics. Some of the categories include: Diseases and Conditions; Emergency Preparedness & Response; Environmental Health; Life Stages & Populations; Healthy Living, Injury, Violence & Safety; Traveler's Health; Workplace Safety & Health. The CDC website includes a powerful search engine as well as alphabetical listings. Users will find fact sheets, videos, photos, posters, and other useful materials to download.

When children have toileting accidents in child care, staff must follow procedures that are appropriate for the child and limit the spread of germs.  This fact sheet gives the rationale and the procedure for these situations. Updated 1/25/16.