• New Thinking about Asthma
  • An Influenza Reminder
  • Easier Way to Check Health Records
  • Snacks and Drinks 



Early education and child care professionals should include preventive practices in the curriculum. In addition, early educators have many opportunities to notice possible areas of decay on children’s teeth. Coupling prevention and early recognition of possible trouble with referral to an oral health professional can save significant suffering. Early decay looks like dull white bands on the smooth surface of the tooth at the gum line. It is caused by bacterial activity in the mouth. It is a form of infectious disease. Early decay may be reversible with fluoride treatment and removal of plaque that builds up on the teeth. If this early decay is not treated, it becomes yellow, brown or black spots. These spots are places where decay destroyed the tooth enamel. If you see chalky white spots or discoloration on a child's teeth, urge the child's family to take the child to a dentist as soon as possible.

Use this FREE interactive online activity to learn about preventing and managing infectious diseases. Four experts who are pediatricians and members of the PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (PA AAP) collaborated with the national AAP to prepare the module.

Users must create a log in to enter the AAP online e-learning system called Pedialink. Thereafter, Pedialink will recognize your log-in to use modules. The AAP does not charge anything at check-out for FREE modules. The AAP issues a certificate awarding 3 hours of credit for successful completion of the module. For the log in and this online learning activity, go to the Healthy Child Care America, Healthy Futures website. 

DPW Facility Licensing Representatives and STARS Specialists will recognize the AAP certificate of credit. To have ECELS record the credit in your PA Keys PD history, attach a scan of the certificate to an e-mail, fax, or send a copy of the AAP certificate to ECELS. Follow the instructions in the “Important Reminders” box on the self-learning module pages of the ECELS website to order a self-learning module review by ECELS. ECELS requires a $10 administrative fee to process your request. (ECERS-ITERS: Personal Care Routines, Parents and Staff. K7-C2-84. 6/2017


State regulations require documentation that the child has received vaccines and screening tests according to the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Any document (including an electronic printout from the child's medical record) that provides this information is acceptable. The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) offers a form that allows health care providers to say whether the child is up to date, the CD 51. This Child Health Report form was last revised in 2008. It does not require the dates and results of the recommended screening tests. It has a check box to indicate "yes" or "no" that the child has received all the recommended screenings. The only screening information it requests is the results of any abnormal vision, hearing or lead screening. These are important, but not all the screenings that assess whether a child is healthy and ready to learn. 

Families, staff members and health professionals can help control infectious diseases among children and adults involved in group care settings. Each has a role. The three roles described in these fact sheets overlap. Families, staff members and health professionals benefit from ongoing coordination and collaboration with one another. Sharing these fact sheets may help those whose role is defined in them identify ways to contribute to reducing illness. Revised 4-2019

See the online (most recently updated) version of Caring for Our Children, 4th edition for the national stanards related to cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces in child care settings. Details about how to select a sanitizer and disinfectant are in Appendix J. The table that lists Routine Schedule for Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting is in Appendix K . Reviewed and reaffirmed 5/2019.


Head lice are little insects that live and lay their eggs close to the scalp. They bite and then feed on blood they draw. They glue their eggs (nits) to the hair. The eggs must be within ¼ of an inch of the scalp to hatch. Small pieces of dandruff are often mistaken for lice eggs. Dandruff slides off hair easily. The tightly-glued eggs are very hard to remove. Combing to remove the lice and nits is tedious. Lice spread easily in group care settings, mostly by head-to-head contact.


Every fall, programs for children in groups face possible outbreaks of flu. Flu can be life-threatening. ECELS recommends that all early education and child care programs actively use measures to prevent this disease.

The best way to stop the spread of seasonal flu is to get flu vaccine as soon as it is available. Whether you get the shot or the nasal spray depends on your age, health condition and preference. The 2013 vaccines have either 3 or 4 strains of influenza virus material. If it is available, get the one with 4 strains. Both of the vaccines prepare your body to resist influenza.

Too many people believe myths about flu vaccine and about influenza. The vaccine does not give you influenza. It stimulates the immune system to recognize influenza viruses. While you might get a sore spot on your arm or feel a bit under the weather for a day or so, getting infected with disease-producing influenza is much worse. Influenza disease can make healthy people sick enough to miss months of work or school or worse. Sadly, each year thousands die from influenza. Flu vaccine could have prevented many of these severe illnesses and deaths.

Child care facilities should start promoting influenza vaccination in September and continue until everyone has received the vaccine or spring comes. With very few exceptions, everyone over 6 months of age should get annual flu vaccine.

In the fall, reinforce the value of practicing good hand hygiene and using an elbow or shoulder to catch a sneeze or cough. Flu viruses spread easily in group care settings. Adults and children in group care take the virus home and spread it in the community. Consider the risk that people who do not get flu vaccine pose to others while respecting their right to make individual decisions.

Act now for the 2013-14 influenza season.

  • Managing Infectious Diseases 
  • Dental Check-up Resources 
  • Q&A: Cold Packs, Hearing Screens 
  • Why Not to Spank 
  • Caring for a Child with Special Needs: Diabetes, Tics  
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