Use the following to share facts, credible information and updates from the Pennsylvania Department of Health Website

Human coronaviruses are a family of viruses that commonly cause mild to moderate illness like the common cold.  A new human coronavirus, called the 2019 Novel Coronavirus was discovered in Wuhan City, China in December 2019.  Symptoms of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Use these additional credentialed sources to share information and updates with families and staff:

Stay vigilant about infection control practices in your program to reduce spread of all common illnesses. Implement the daily health check recommended in Caring for Our Children Standard 3.1.1.1. Reviewed and reaffirmed 7/2021

Masking/FACE COVERINGS Resources for EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION (ECE) Providers

(From Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL),  American Academy of Pediatrics HealthyChildren.org, and more)

Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)
COVID-19 Best Practices for Early Childhood Education (ECE) https://www.pakeys.org/covid-19/
This page will help keep early childhood education (ECE) professionals informed on best practices for keeping children, staff and families safe and healthy as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Face Coverings:
The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) recognizes helping young children to be comfortable wearing face masks and to keep face masks on may be challenging. It is important to help children feel more secure wearing a face mask when around other children and adults.

The CDC COVID resource pages are recommended as the primary source of up-to-date and accurate information. As recommendations regarding the mitigation of COVID-19 continue to evolve, child care providers are urged to stay up-to-date on the most recent CDC Guidance for Operating Child Care.
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/child-care-guidance.html

Best Practices and Resources for Child Care Providers https://www.pakeys.org/covid-19/
Most children are used to wearing and seeing people in masks. Predictable and consistent routines around mask wearing can help young children feel comfortable and know what to expect. Treat mask wearing as an emerging skill. Support children in learning to wear a mask consistently to be healthy and safe by showing children how to wear their mask so it fits securely over their mouth and nose. Give positive feedback to children for their efforts and keep it playful!

Resources for Use with Children

American Academy of Pediatrics HealthyChildren.org
• Mask Mythbusters: 5 Common Misconceptions about Kids & Cloth Face Coverings
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics HealthyChildren.org
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/COVID-19/Pages/Mask-Mythbusters.aspx

• Face Masks for children during COVID-19
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics HealthyChildren.org
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/COVID-19/Pages/Cloth-Face-Coverings-for-Children-During-COVID-19.aspx

Other
Coronavirus (COVID-19): How Wearing a Mask Helps Protect Against Infection (video)
Source: Nemours KidsHealth.org https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/coronavirus-mask-video.html

• Wearing a Mask Social Story
Source: Autism Services, Education, Resources and Training Collaborative (ASSERT)
http://paautism.org/resource/wearing-mask-social-story/

• Masks Toolkit
Source: University of Rochester Medical Center
https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/strong-center-developmental-disabilities/resources/masks-toolkit.aspx

Additional Parent Resources
• Tips for quarantined parents in the times of COVID-19
Source: American Psychological Association http://www.apa.org/topics/covid-19/quarantine-parents-tips

 Updated 9/2021

A current poster with guidelines for CPR, including choking and first aid for other emergency conditions is available from the American Academy of Pediatrics bookstore. The guidelines say give Compressions first, then check the Airway, and then support Breathing with mouth to nose and mouth or mouth-to-mouth breaths (C-A-B). The C-A-B sequence applies to adults, children and infants. It does not apply to newborns. The AAP "3-in-1 First Aid/Choking/CPR" poster gives these instructions and gives brief instructions for what to do for common injuries too. Visit the AAP Bookstore to order copies of the new poster.  Reviewed 6/2021.

Caring for a child with diabetes can be a challenge. Families and early care and education staff need to know what to do. Diabetes affects 7% of the population. About one in 500 children has diabetes. Children with diabetes do not make enough insulin. The body needs insulin to use sugar in food for energy and growth. Insulin is a hormone that must be produced naturally by cells in the pancreas or be given as a medicine at proper times and in the right amounts.

Drinking water should be available indoors and outdoors all day. Milk is a fluid food. Milk should be served at meals or snacks where it is planned as part of the recommended intake for the child. Having ready access to drinking water is especially important on hot days except for infants. Infants who receive human milk or formula should receive extra human milk or formula, not water. Children should learn to drink water from a cup or, without mouthing the fixture, drink from a fountain as they can master these skills. Offer water as often as once an hour. No child should be allowed to have water by sucking continuously on a bottle or Sippy cup as it may interfere with proper nutrition. It is best to have children brush their teeth after at least one feeding. When children who have teeth eat and do not brush their teeth afterward, they should have a drink of water to rinse the food from their teeth.

More resources about water and other drinks for children: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Choose-Water-for-Healthy-Hydration.aspx 

Reviewed and reaffirmed 6/2021

Children learn through meaningful relationships. Positive interaction with consistent adults is essential for early brain development. Verbal and nonverbal communication during routine care is a good approach. Teachers can show families what to do. Speak in soft, encouraging, and positive ways to children. Encourage being respectful and treating children as you would like to be treated.

Resources to support Children with Special Health Care Needs, Care Plans, Process to Support Enrollment of a Child with Special Needs, Asthma Action Plan, Food Allergy, Epilepsy support. See below:

Plan to stay safe and healthy during a disaster. Every early care and education program should have a detailed plan for a disaster. Plans should include what to do about food, water, supplies, and documentation. Arrangements for evacuation, including transportation are essential. Sample plans are available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Model Child Care Health Policies, 5th edition, Chapter 13, has fill-in-the-blank (form-field) policies for emergencies and disasters. The Early Childhood Education Linkage System (ECELS) offers an Emergency Plan Checklist and Emergency Planning Self - Learning Module for 2 hours of professional development credit.

Plan for every child’s needs prior to the first day of care. The program should collect many details before the child is enrolled.
Be sure to collect specific medical information to plan for the child’s care. Ask about any health conditions that the child has had in the past and has now. Has the child had:
• medical care for a health problem?
• allergic reactions to any foods, pollens or other substances?
• wheezing (asthma)?
• a need to take medication more than once or twice in the past year?
These general questions may reveal special needs for accommodation in the program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Choose My Plate program has a great poster/fact sheet. It shows the sequence and usual ages when 2-5 year old children learn specific healthy eating habits.  The one-page PDF has eye-catching graphics. Use it tool to help families and teachers work together on developmentally-appropriate eating skills for children.  Download this tool at https://myplate-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/2020-12/behavioral-milestones%202-5%20yo.pdf.
Updated 7/2021

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 7/2021

Every 3 Minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room and over 60 percent of food allergy reactions at school take place in preschools and child care facilities, notes the Food Allergy Research & Education’s (FARE) website. Keeping children with food allergies safe and healthy can present a special challenge in early care and education programs if you are not prepared.

  • Learn to modify early learning and school-age programs for a child with a food allergy. Plan for handling a food allergy response by reviewing the training presentations from Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) such as Save a Life: Recognizing and Responding to Anaphylaxis”, “Keeping Students Safe and Included”, and “Navigating Early Childhood and Food Allergies”.
  • Use FARE’s Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan, formerly the Food Allergy Action Plan, that outlines recommended treatment in case of an allergic reaction, is signed by a physician and includes emergency contact information. PA Keystone STARS Performance Standards LM.2.5 specifies policies relating to care plans for children with special needs including food allergies. Resources available include – “Tips for Managing Students with Food Allergies During a Shelter-in-Place Emergency”, “Tips for Field Trips”, “Tips for Cleaning”, “Tips for Non-Food Treats and Rewards”.
  • See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs for additional recommended plans, practices, and procedures. 5-2021

In America, 1 in 6 children may not know where they will get their next meal. The U.S. Department of Agriculture tracks this information. You may not know unless you ask parents about it.  Children without a stable supply of food may develop serious health problems. They may have poor growth and development. They may develop behavior difficulties. They may have frequent illnesses and hospitalizations. Some have iron deficiency anemia. 

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. 

A study in the August 2018 issue of Pediatrics, "The Nutritional Quality of Gluten-Free Products for Children," examined the nutritional content of gluten-free products marketed specifically to children. The research showed that products labeled gluten-free are not nutritionally better compared to "regular" children's foods (those without a gluten free claim). In addition, many of the gluten-free foods for children had less protein, high sugar levels, and were of poor nutritional quality due to high levels of sugar, sodium, and/or fat.