As you prepare for fall enrollment, now is a good time for early care and education programs to make sure all staff are up-to-date with recommended immunizations.  Getting vaccinated is an important part of staying healthy.  Routine immunization of adults is the best way to protect yourself against vaccine-preventable diseases.  Several of the vaccines routinely recommended for adults will prevent diseases that can be spread to children in the child care setting, including pertussis(whooping cough), varicella(chicken pox), measles, mumps, rubella and influenza.

Start your influenza vaccine efforts now too!  All children 6 months of age and older and staff should get influenza vaccine.   

This workshop enables the user to learn how to assess health and safety practices in programs for infants and toddlers in conjunction with use of the ITERS assessment tool. Discuss feeding, diapering, sleeping, fostering early brain development, managing illness and more. Use the assessment to make improvements in the program. 

Follow the American Academy of Pediatrics policy about preventing sleep related deaths in group care settings. Standards 2.2.0.2, 3.1.4.1, and 3.1.4.2 of the updated, HTML version of Caring for Our Children, third edition, say what should be done. Many early childhood programs must change some common practices.

Outbreaks of influenza can be stopped by requiring that most child care workers and children who are over 6 months of age get flu vaccine. The CDC reported low influenza vaccination rates among child care workers in a national sample in 2010. Only 22% received the strongly recommended annual vaccine. The most common reasons for not getting the vaccine were mistaken ideas. The respondents didn't understand that they needed to get the vaccine, that the vaccine does prevent or reduce the severity of the flu, and that the vaccine is safe. Those who got the vaccine had the facts and felt some external pressure to receive the vaccine. Strong promotion of flu vaccine is associated with significantly decreased rates of emergency department visits for flu-like symptoms.

Children are more at risk than adults to the effects of lead because their brains are still growing. Lead exposure can cause problems with the brain. This may lead to learning difficulties and behavior problems. There is no safe level of lead exposure for children. Sources of lead can include old paint, contaminated dust and soil, and water in lead pipes. The most important step is to prevent lead exposure before it occurs.
Children are especially at risk of lead exposure if they:
• live in the inner city or in poverty
• live in a home built before 1978
• have poor nutrition

Early care and education programs can help prevent and reduce lead exposure in the following ways:

Early education and before and after school child care providers may adapt this model letter to send to heatlh professionls to explain the need for the health professionals to complete required health forms. It one of the documents posted on the WellCareTrackerTM website. WellCareTrackerTM is a secure Internet software application developed and maintained by ECELS to evaluate and track health service reports to be sure that children are up-to-date with vaccines and screeniings. On the WellCareTrackerTM website, select the letter from the left pane under "Sample Letters." 

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.

Many children who are enrolled in early education and child care programs have chronic health problems or special health needs.  In the United States, 14% of all children have such conditions. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published Managing Chronic Health Needs in Child Care and Schools  to help teachers and caregivers understand these conditions and work with health care professionals to be sure children who have them stay well. The book explains how to develop specific Care Plans for educational settings. One section offers information about types of health professionals who might be involved in a child's care. Half the book is devoted to condition-specific Quick Reference Sheets and sample forms.   To order this book, go to the AAP bookstore at www.aap.org. Reviewed and reaffirmed 11/2012.

ECELS Pediatric Advisor, Beth DelConte, MD, FAAP presented an audio conference on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 from 9 to 10:30 am for Pennsylvania Child Care Health Consultants, Child Care Health Advocates, STARS TA Consultants, STARS Specialists/Managers, ERS Assessors, Certification Representatives, and Specialty Discipline Instructors. Giving medication in early education and child care is common and poses significant risks. Frequently, program staff are unaware of and fail to perform correct procedures to minimize the risks when giving medication. Act 48 and PA Keys to Professional Development credit is availble from ECELS for listening to the audio conference and then completing and submitting the Evaluation Form.  Open the attachments for the Healthy Futures Module handouts (allow for brief loading time), Supplemental Handouts and the Evaluation Form. For questions, contact ECELS at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 484-446-3003. 10/2011

This workshop draws on the curriculum published  by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2010 to teach how to manage the risks involved in giving medication in group care settings using the 5 Rights: the right child receives the right medication in the right dose, by the right method at the right time.  Participants practice skills and discuss scenarios to identify gaps in practice.  Key elements that should be in documentation of medication, policies and procedures are reviewed. Demonstrations and discussions include tips for giving a variety of different types of medication: liquids and pills, eye, ear, nose, topical medications such as diaper cream and sunscreen, inhalers and emergency medicines.