Steps for child care facilities to prevent illness. This approach is for all facilities, but will be especially helpful to those who want to meet the Pennsylvania standards for STARS.  Published in the February 2006 issue of Health Link Online. Updated 2/23/06. Reviewed and reaffirmed 11/2012.

Deciding when to exclude a child who is ill from early learning and education programs can be confusing for staff. Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools: A Quick Reference Guide, 4th edition clarifies the decision-making process. A child who is ill but does not require immediate medical attention should be excluded if the staff member determines the illness:
a. Prevents the child from participating comfortably in activities as determined by staff
b. Results in a need for care that is greater than the staff can provide without compromising the health and safety of other children
c. Poses a risk of spread of harmful diseases to others based on the list of specific excludable conditions
If any of the above criteria are met, the child should be excluded, regardless of the type of illness.

Learn how to check immunization records for children in your care. View online videos and learn about vaccines on the website of the Vaccine Education Center of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The instructions include a link to the website of the National Immunization Program of the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) and CDC's FREE handy software tools to check vaccine records for individual children in your care and adults who care for the children.   Pennsylvania child care practitioners may earn professional development credit by submitting your answers to questions about what you learned with your evaluation of vaccine records for at least 5 children in your care. Follow the instructions in the "Important Reminders" box beside the list of self-learning modules for ECELS to review your work to award professional development credit.  (ECERS-ITERS: Program Structure. K7-C2-78. This Level 3 Professional Development meets STAR Level 2 Performance Standard for Health and Safety) Revised 10/8/13

This website was launched by the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the public and for professionals. It presents trustworthy, evidence-based (scientifically evaluated) information about vaccine-preventable diseases and their vaccines. The vaccineinformation.org website is organized by age group — Infants / Children, Preteens, Teens, and Adults. The website offers timely, accurate, and proven information about vaccines and the diseases they prevent. It features hundreds of valuable resources, accessed by easy key word searches. The website has about 100 vaccine-related videos. Also, it has public service announcements, educational materials and personal stories about suffering and death when people go without being immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases. 2/28/2013

The Pennsylvania Immunization Card is an English/Spanish wallet-sized personal immunization record for children and adults. These handy cards are available in packs of 50 at no cost for distribution to Pennsylvania families. The cards makes it easy to keep track of vaccines the adults and children have received.  Updated 5/22/13

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. 

Special practices are needed to protect early education and school-age providers from contact with blood or other potentially infectious body fluids. Use this online module to learn how to comply with the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop an exposure control plan, how to care for a human bite, prevent injuries from sharps, and the procedure for post-exposure treatment. This module includes OSHA's Bloodborne Exposure Control Plan you can use by filling in the blanks. PA child care staff may submit completed work for review for credit by scanning the pages and attaching them to an e-mail, sending them by fax or by surface mail to ECELS. Be sure to follow the instructions in the “Important Reminders” box next to the list of self-learning modules on this webpage.
(ECERS-ITERS: Personal Care Routines. (K7.1 C1, K7.2 C1, K7.2 C2, K7.8 C1, K7.8 C2).
(Meets STARS Level 2 Performance Standard for Health and Safety) Updated 4-2017

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.

Pennsylvania regulations already require that children receive vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. All children over 6 months of age should receive flu vaccine. New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut are requiring that teachers/caregivers have influenza vaccinations too. Flu vaccine reduces the risk of severe flu for them, the children in their care and family members. Contact in child care is a well-known factor in the spread of influenza in the community. While the current flu vaccine is not perfect, it will reduce the risk. The flu season peaks in January-March. It’s not too late to get some protection from flu vaccine.