Using the new, 5th Edition of Model Child Care Health Policies, develop customized health and safety policies for your center or home-based program. Complete self-assessment questions and review selected policies.  Submit one policy of your choice to ECELS for review. PA child care practitioners 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. K7-C3-76 or K8-C3-92. Meets STAR 2 Performance Standard for Health and Safety.  Instructions updated 1/15/14.

In partnership with the national American Academy of Pediatrics, Healthy Child Care America program, ECELS presented a webinar with a simultaneous audio conference, “Using Model Child Care Health Policies to Improve Quality” on February 12, 2014. This event was for early education and child care teachers/caregivers, health professionals, child care health consultants, child care health advocates, technical assistance consultants & child care agency/organization staff members.  Handouts are posted below to download. They include the PowerPoint slides, the evaluation form to submit for CME/CEU, PA Key and Act 48 credit,  a cross-walk of the Model Child Care Health Policies, 5th edition with the high priority national health and safety standards in Stepping Stones 3rd edition, and a list of Environmental Rating Scale items with health and safety content. The recording of this audio conference and webinar is with the archived webinars on the Healthy Child Care America website.

In partnership with the national American Academy of Pediatrics, Healthy Child Care America program, ECELS presented a webinar with a simultaneous audio conference, “Using Model Child Care Health Policies to Improve Quality” on February 12, 2014. This event was for early education and child care teachers/caregivers, health professionals, child care health consultants, child care health advocates, technical assistance consultants & child care agency/organization staff members.  Handouts are posted below to download. They include the PowerPoint slides, the evaluation form that Pennsylvania users may submit for PA Key and Act 48 credit, a cross-walk of the Model Child Care Health Policies, 5th edition with the high priority national health and safety standards in Stepping Stones 3rd edition, and a list of Environmental Rating Scale items with health and safety content. The recording of this webinar is with the archived webinars on the Healthy Child Care America website.

The National Center on Health offers visually attractive, simply stated resources for infant, toddler and preschool care. Anyone can down-load the electronic copies from the Internet. Head Start programs can order hard copy from the National Center at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. These materials have excellent content for teachers/caregivers to use in their programs and to share with families:

Growing Healthy Flipcharts http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/health/healthy-active-living/HAL_Resources/NCHEnglishFlipChartF011514_7-7final508.pdf

Take a look at the National Center’s Health Tips (Fact Sheets) for Families* (and teachers): Download an individual one page fact sheets when you need a handout on one of the topics or download the complete series in English [PDF, 1.2MB] and Spanish (español) [PDF, 309KB]* The following topic are available as handouts:

Active Play includes tips to help infants, toddlers and preschoolers develop positive active play behaviors.

Health Literacy provides information about how to understand and use health information that doctors and other health professionals give.

Healthy Breathing provides information about eliminating first-hand, second-hand and third-hand exposure to tobacco smoke.

Healthy Eating offers easy tips to help infants, toddlers and preschool-age children learn healthy eating.

Mental Health provides information about how to help infants, toddlers and preschoolers develop positive mental health behaviors.

Oral Health offers tips to promote oral health in infancy through preschool age.

Safety and Injury Prevention: Tips for Families (2 pages) provides easy tips families can use to ensure their children's health and safety at home, outside, in the water, and in a car or truck.

Dealing with Stress is a 4 page guide with simply stated, clear tips to help cope with stress in a healthy way.

*http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/health/health-literacy-family-engagement/family-education/tipsheetfamily.htm

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.

This online module uses the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center’s comprehensive training on prevention of tooth decay and promotion called, “Open Wide.”  The materials include excellent photographs, embedded videos, and real-life case studies to show what to do with situations you are likely to encounter with families. In addition, you'll find oral health curriculum ideas and guidelines for implementing tooth brushing during the child care day as well as key information to share with staff, children and families. The content includes a resource list, documents for further information and sources for dental care. PA child care practitioners 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-C1-77. Meets STAR Level 2 Performance Standard for Health and Safety) 7/17/2013

ECELS and PA AAP’s Healthy Teeth, Healthy Children conducted an online survey for early care and education programs as part of the February 2014 Dental Health Month. The purpose of the survey was to learn how child care programs were teaching and practicing oral health.

Sing to the tune of (Row, Row, Row Your Boat)

Brush, brush, brush, your teeth,
Brush them nice and clean.
Brush the tops and bottoms too,
And floss them in between.

What reasons do teachers/caregivers give for not doing oral hygiene as part of the curriculum?

  • Just one more thing to add to the child care day.
  • I don’t have enough time.
  • I can’t get everything done as it is.
  • Parents brush the children’s teeth at home.

While these common responses are understandable, the best practice benefits make it worth the effort. Caring for Our Children, 3rd edition (CFOC3) defines the best-practice standards for early learning programs. CFOC3 Standard 3.1.5.1 states “Caregivers/teachers promote the habit of regular tooth brushing. All children with teeth should brush or have their teeth brushed at least once during the hours the child is in child care.” CFOC3 Standard 9.2.3.14 has additional details: All child care programs should have an oral health policy that includes information about fluoride content of water at the facility, contact information for each child’s dentist, a resource list for children without a dentist, daily tooth brushing or rinsing the mouth with water after eating, use of Sippy cups and bottles only at mealtimes during the day and not at naptimes, no serving of sweetened food products, promotion of healthful foods per the USDA Child Care and Adult Food Program, early identification of tooth decay, age-appropriate oral health education activities, and a plan for handling dental emergencies.

Dental disease is the most common chronic disease of early childhood. Cavities and decay in baby teeth can cause pain, inability to eat healthful foods and inability to learn. The decay can cause damage that is very expensive to repair. Poor oral health affects a child’s overall health and development leading to lifelong harmful consequences.

Cavities can be prevented, stopped and even reversed if they are caught and treated early. The acid made by germs in the mouth causes cavities. Regular brushing removes food that feeds the germs and reduces the number of germs that cause tooth decay. Consistent application of fluoride in toothpaste and drinking water helps harden the teeth against the acids that cause cavities.

Include Tooth-friendly snacks: Cheese, Baby Carrots, Apple Slices, Cucumbers, Nuts (for children 4 years of age or older), Yogurt, Whole Grain Cereals, Other fresh fruits and vegetables

Avoid Tooth-unfriendly snacks:Cookies, Candy, Crackers, Sticky Fruit Snacks, Juice and Juice Drinks, Sugary Cereals and other high sugar foods

For all children:

  • Brush teeth with a fluoride toothpaste: Use a smear for infants with teeth; for 2-5 year olds use a pea-sized amount; for older children and adults use a ribbon of toothpaste.
  • Provide healthy foods and limit sweet snacks and drinks. Read how much sugar is in a portion and the portion size on every product label.
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups starting by 12 months of age and every 6 months thereafter.

Forming good habits at a young age can help a child have healthy teeth for life.

Little People Day School of Columbia in South Central Pennsylvania has been dedicated to oral health care for their children for more than 30 years! The children brush their teeth twice a day as part of their daily curriculum. It is such a normal part of their routine that when someone suggested the center could change to brushing once a day, the center said “no.” So the children continue to faithfully brush their teeth after breakfast and after lunch. Congratulations Little People Day School of Columbia! You have earned special recognition from the South Central Regional Key, and Keystone STARS!

For more information about Oral Health, go to: The Washington Dental Service Foundation website at http://www.kidsoralhealth.org/

Caring for Our Children, 3rd Ed., “Oral Health in Child Care and Early Education”, a special collection of oral health standards for early care and education programs at www.cfoc.nrckids.org/StandardView/SpcCol/Oral-Health

Contributed by Anne Dodds, South Central Regional Key Child Care Health Consultant

This bright, highly graphic poster illustrates steps parents, teachers/caregivers can take to help children have healthy teeth. One side is printed in English and the other side is in Spanish. Order up to 5 posters, free while supplies last. 9/5/2013

In 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated the schedule of services children should receive during well-child visits.* The new schedule includes oral health screening and that all children between 6 months and 5 years of age have their teeth painted with fluoride varnish** 2-4 times a year to prevent tooth decay.

Learn more about how to make the most of well child visits. Go to the 8/2015 article* on the AAP’s www.HealthyChildren.org website. This website is for parents and other caregivers. Articles are available in English or Spanish, in both written and oral format.
*https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/health-management/Pages/Well-Child-Care-A-Check-Up-for-Success.aspx
**https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/oral-health/Pages/Fluoride-Varnish-What-Parents-Need-to-Know.aspx

Photo and article content with permission of the American Academy of Pediatrics.oral health pg 4