PA regulations require that children have vaccines recommended by the ACIP.* The ACIP is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The ACIP recommends that everyone older than 6 months of age receive influenza vaccine.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that child care programs prevent influenza with annual immunization for everyone older than 6 months of age, especially all teachers/caregivers.** ECELS urges programs to adopt policies and practices that require influenza immunization, hand hygiene, cough/sneeze etiquette, and minimizing crowding.
Early educators and families need to follow oral health recommendations related to use of fluoride for children. Experts no longer recommend that children take fluoride tablets and liquid supplements. Instead, children should brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride-containing toothpaste. The amount of toothpaste should be appropriate for the child's age. Infants use a smear or rice grain amount of toothpaste. Children 2-5 years of age use a pea-sized amount. From then on, a small ribbon is appropriate. By 12 months of age, or 6 months after the first tooth appears, children should visit a pediatric or child-friendly dentist. Thereafter, children should visit a dentist every 6 months. The dentist may apply fluoride varnish to their teeth at periodic visits. Medicaid and some private health insurance will pay for these preventive dental services. The child's pediatrician may be able to temporarily provide these services to healthy children up to age 5 if dental services are not available in the community. Reviewed and reaffirmed 4-2019
Many children and adults have asthma. Up to 90% of children with asthma have allergies also. Wheezing, irritation of eyes and noses may be an allergic response to substances like pollens, animal dander, or dust mites. Nearly a quarter of children with asthma have food allergies too. Early education and child care providers must be prepared to respond to a situation that involves a severe allergic reaction. Without prompt administration of an appropriate medication, someone with an allergic reaction may die.
This workshop uses the interactive curriculum from the Food Allergy Network. It includes a video and mock epinephrine (EpiPen) demonstration. Participants practice reading food labels to find hidden ingredients that are the same as common food allergens and learn the basics of food allergy and allergen types in foods. The group discusses how to modify the child care setting for a child with a food allergy, and a plan for handling a food allergy response.
Food-borne illness is very common. The risk of this type of illness increases in warm weather. Sending food from home and eating out-of-doors may allow perishable food to reach temperatures that foster bacterial growth. A 2011 study reported in the journal, Pediatrics measured temperatures of lunches that families packed and sent with their preschool children. The researchers found only 1.6% of lunches with perishable items were at safe temperature. The study was done in nine Texas child care centers and measured temperatures in the packed lunches of more than 700 preschoolers. Even when sent with ice packs, most of the lunches were at unsafe temperatures over an hour before the food was ready to be served. The message is clear: Early educators and families must adopt practices that ensure food is at a safe temperature before feeding it to children.
ECELS/Healthy Child Care PA outlined the key gaps and necessary steps that ECELS recommends to improve the quality of early education and child care in Pennsylvania. This fact sheet provides data and talking points to guide policy-makers and other stakeholders seeking quality child care. 2007 published, reaffirmed 2012.
In March 2014, Governor Tom Corbett and the Pennsylvania Insurance Department launched a new campaign to promote enrollment in the state’s Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP.) CHIP covers doctor visits for checkups or sick care, vaccines, dental care, eye care, prescriptions, mental health and more.
Now, more than 133,000 uninsured children in Pennsylvania have access to CHIP. All families need to do is apply! Do all you can to encourage families with children up to 19 years of age who do not have comprehensive health insurance to sign up.
For many families, CHIP is free - no copays or monthly premiums. Families with higher incomes may qualify for low-cost or at-cost CHIP. CHIP for any enrolled family includes the same comprehensive benefits. Families whose incomes fall below CHIP guidelines may enroll in Medical Assistance.
Low income children enrolled more than 30 years ago in a high quality early care and education program grew up to be healthier and better-achieving as adults. The Abecedarian Project reported long-term follow-up of children who were randomly selected to attend the Frank Porter Graham child care center from when they were infants to 5 years of age. The staff checked to be sure the children received recommended preventive health services. They provided good nutrition. They educated children, teachers and families about good health behaviors.