News

Join the Pennsylvania Child Care Association (PACCA) and the PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (PA AAP) Early Childhood Education Linkage System (ECELS) program for a two-part webinar series, Introduction to Medication Administration for Early Care and Education Providers on Thursday, June 20th and Tuesday, June 25th, 2024 from 12:30pm to 2:00 pm. In child care, medication can be administered by child care providers to maintain the health of the child, prevent illness, or relieve symptoms. Doing this allows a child who is not acutely ill to attend out-of-home child care. To administer medication, child care providers must comply with laws, regulations, and best practice. This session is designed to educate child care providers who give children medication but are not licensed health care professionals.

To receive credit for the live webinar, you must attend both 1.5-hour sessions in their entirety and complete the course evaluation. 3 hours of credit will then be awarded in the PD Registry within 48 hours of completion of the requirements.

Register Here

Cost: FREE
Dates: Thursday, June 20th and Tuesday, June 25th from 12:30pm-2pm
Presenters: Rosemarie Halt, RPh, MPH, BS ECELS Child Care Health Consultant; Marcie Banze, MSN, RN- Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator, ECELS
Objectives:

  • Identify different types of medication, why medication is given, and how it is given
  • Discuss how to evaluate and implement medication storage, preparation, and administration techniques
  • Support appropriate documentation
  • Recognize and respond to adverse reactions
  • Learn how to develop and implement appropriate policies

This webinar will present medication administration information and discuss the pertinent standards from Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards:

3.6.3.1: Medication Administration
3.6.3.2: Labeling, Storage, and Disposal of Medications
3.6.3.3: Training of Caregivers/Teachers to Administer Medication
9.2.3.9: Written Policy on Use of Medications
9.4.1.1: Facility Insurance Coverage

Water beads can be deadly to babies and small children if ingested, and can lead to choking, internal injuries and even death if left undetected notes the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). 

The CPSC urges parents and caregivers to remove these products from any environment with children. CPSC also urges childcare centers, camps, and schools to avoid these products entirely. If you suspect your child has swallowed a water bead or inserted a water bead into their ear or nose, seek medical treatment right away.

For more information:

Water Beads | CPSC.gov

Water Beads: Harmful if Swallowed, Put in Ears - HealthyChildren.org

Are Water Beads Dangerous? | Poison Control

Report any dangerous product or a product-related injury & experiences with water beads on SaferProducts.gov.

You can additionally help to promote awareness with this printable poster SafetyAlert_5101_WaterBeads_092023_v6.pdf (cpsc.gov) 

CPSC Safety Alert: Water Beads

 

Children die in hot vehicles every year. Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104 degrees and the ability to maintain or control body temperature is overwhelmed. Vehicles heat up quickly – even with a window rolled down two inches. If the outside temperature is in the low 80°s Fahrenheit, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in only 10 minutes! Children’s bodies overheat easily, and infants and children under four years of age are among those at greatest risk for heat-related illness. When left in a hot vehicle, a young child’s body temperature may increase three to five times as fast an adult. High body temperatures can cause permanent injury or even death.

Warning signs of heatstroke include:

  • Red, hot, and moist or dry skin
  • No sweating, even though the child is warm
  • Strong rapid pulse or slow weak pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion, or acting strangely

If a child exhibits any of these signs after being in a hot vehicle, call 911 or your local emergency number immediatelyCool the child rapidly. Spray the child with cool water - do NOT place child in an ice bath.

ALWAYS LOOK BEFORE YOU LOCK!

  • Always check the back seat before you lock the vehicle and walk away.
  • Get in the habit of always opening the back door to check the back seat before leaving a vehicle. Put something you will need like your cell phone, handbag, or briefcase, etc., in the back seat to create a reminder to open the back door to retrieve that item every time you park.
  • Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat. When the child is placed in the car seat, put the stuffed animal in the front passenger seat as a visual reminder that the child is in the back seat.
  • Distractions and/or a change in routine increase the risk of forgetting a child in a back seat. If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine is altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely.
  • Have a strict policy in place with the childcare provider about morning drop-off.
    • If your child will not be attending childcare as scheduled, the parent’s responsibility is to call and inform the childcare provider.
    • If the child does not show up as scheduled, and the child care provider did not receive a call, the childcare provider pledges to contact the parent immediately to ensure the safety of your child.
  • Never leave a child alone in a car.
  • Never let children play in an unattended vehicle. Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area.
  • Never leave a child in a parked vehicle, even if the windows are partially open.
  • Observe and Report: If you see a child alone in a car, call 911, especially on warm days!

Resource: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

It’s unsafe and bad practice to leave a child unattended in a car for any reason, even for a quick stop – e.g. in a parking lot or elsewhere to pick up food from a restaurant. In PA, it is a summary offense as specified in PA Statute Title 75 3701.1 Leaving an unattended child in a motor vehicle.

For heatstroke prevention information cited above, click here. For other traffic injury prevention information, contact the PA Traffic Injury Prevention Project of the PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (PA-TIPP) at 1-800-CARBELT, 484-446-3008 or see their website and resource page.

Healthy nutrition and feeding practices are foundational for the growth of young children. Knowing what and how to feed children in infancy through the early years is important for families and caregivers as they help establish healthy habits that will carry through until adulthood.

The ABCs of Growing Healthy Kids, from Penn State Extension Better Kid Care, are a helpful resource for providing general feeding information from birth through six years of age. Specific topics of interest are also covered such as picky eaters, healthy snacks and breakfast ideas. Numerous Downloadable PDFs are available for printing and sharing.

Date issued: Nov 16, 2023 

The CDC has released the Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule by Age, Recommendations for Ages 18 Years or Younger, United States, for 2024.  Be sure to check out the CDC site for more information:  

Additional notes and addendums are available here: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/child-index.html

Immunizations 

Are you looking for support with health and safety concerns in your program?

The American Academy of Pediatrics ECELS Program is Now Offering Virtual Office Hours

  • ECELS will be available by appointment to assist you with information concerning health and safety needs in your program
  • Using ECELS Office Hours can help your program:
    • Resolve questions
    • Provide information and share resources to aid in Health and Safety decision making
    • Strengthen health and safety policies
    • Promote safe and healthy environments for children to learn and thrive
    • Improve staff/caregiver health and safety skills
  • Appointments are offered via telephone or video conference

Who can request ECELS Virtual Office Hours?

Services are available at no cost to child care professionals and specialists, including:

  • Teachers
  • Directors
  • Family Resource Staff
  • Group/Center Staff and other early childhood professionals

How can you request an ECELS Virtual Office Hours appointment?
Scan this QR code or follow the link to schedule an appointment

Appointments are held on Fridays or other days/times by request. To schedule an appointment, register here or scan the QR Code. Once the request has been received, you will be contacted by email with further instructions.

Please contact the ECELS Program at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions. We look forward to your participation!

FDA Alert Concerning Certain Cinnamon Products Due to Presence of Elevated Levels of Lead

Through product testing, the FDA has determined that the ground cinnamon products listed in the table here contain elevated levels of lead and that prolonged exposure to these products may be unsafe.

Recommendations for consumers

  • The FDA is advising consumers to stop using and dispose of these products. 
  • Consumers should not eat, sell, or serve ground cinnamon products listed in the table above and should discard them.  
  • These products have a long shelf life. Consumers should check their homes and discard these products.  
  • If there’s suspicion that someone has been exposed to elevated levels of lead, talk to your healthcare provider. Most people have no obvious immediate symptoms of lead exposure. 

What is Lead?

Lead is a naturally occurring element found in small amounts in the earth's crust. While it has some beneficial uses, it can be toxic to humans and animals, causing health effects. Lead is particularly dangerous to children because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults do and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.

Learn about lead, its health effects, and what to do if you think your child has been exposed to lead.

Date issued: 2023-09-07

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has released the Announcement ELRC 23-04: 2023 Keystone STARS Performance Standards, Program Manual, and Accompanying Resources. This Announcement shares information on the 2023 updated Keystone STARS Performance Standards, Program Manual, and Accompanying Resources.

On May 16, 2022, the most recent version of the Keystone STARS Performance Standards and Program Manual were released and became effective July 1, 2022. Since that time, OCDEL has received feedback from the field related to professional development in Keystone STARS Staff Qualification (SQ) indicators. OCDEL examined the feedback and used it to make edits to a limited number of quality indicators that will become effective on October 1, 2023.

Additionally, the 2023 Keystone STARS Program Manual features updated and additional information and resources for 2023.

This announcement becomes effective October 1, 2023, and will replace in its entirety ELRC Announcement 22 #04 Keystone STARS Performance Standards and Program Manual and all accompanying documents.

For complete information, please see the Announcement ELRC 23-04: 2023 Keystone STARS Performance Standards, Program Manual, and Accompanying Resources.

Date Issued: 08/28/2023

Complete our new Fire Safety in the ECE Program!

This training meets the annual DHA Fire Safety Training requirement by covering fire safety and prevention in a child care facility.

More: https://ecels-healthychildcarepa.org/professional-development-training/self-learning-modules/item/200-fire-safety-self-learning-module-3-hours.html

Date Issued: 08/03/2023

Newly released announcements describe the fire safety requirements for DHS-certified in-home programs, commercial-based providers, and school-age programs not located in a school building. Choose your provider type below for the full announcement and details.

FCCHs and GCCHs in a Residence

Centers and GCCHs in a Commercial Space

Date issued: 01/13/22

There has been a second recall of two baby sleepers due to additional infant deaths. Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play Sleepers and the Kids2 Rocking Sleepers.  Fisher-Price has urged their consumers to stop using the sleeper immediately.  The first recall came in April 2019.  The U.S. Consumer Product stresses the critical urgency to stop the use of these pieces of infant equipment.  

The Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleepers were sold nationwide at stores including Walmart, Target and online at Amazon from September 2009 through April 2019 for between $40 and $149.

If you have one of the recalled products, contact Fisher-Price for a refund or voucher. You can do so online at Rock 'n Play recall or www.mattel.com and click on “Recall & Safety,” or by calling toll-free at 866-812-6518 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.

The Kids2 Rocking Sleepers were sold at Walmart, Target and Toys “R” Us and online from March 2012 through April 2019. Their price was between $40 and $80.

Contact Kids2 for a refund. Call toll-free at 866-869-7954 from 8 a.m.to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit Rocking Sleeper recall or www.kids2.com and click on “Recalls” for more information.

It is illegal to sell or distribute the recalled sleepers.

Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID)

SUID, which includes Sudden Infant Syndrome (SIDS), is the leading cause of injury death in infancy.  Sleep is a big challenge for families with infants, but following safe sleep recommendations can prevent many SUID fatalities.

The rate of sleep-related infant death declined significantly in the 1990s after the AAP and others recommended that babies be placed on their backs to sleep, but rates have since plateaued, and SIDS remains the leading cause of postneonatal mortality. Black and Native American/Alaska Native infants die at rates more than double that of white babies. Pediatricians should support all families in implementing recommendations that reduce the risk of sleep-related infant death:

    • Place infants on their backs for sleep in their own sleep space with no other people. 
    • Use a crib, bassinet, or portable play yard with a firm, flat mattress and a fitted sheet. Avoid sleep on a couch or armchair or in a seating device, like a swing or car safety seat (except while riding in the car). 
    • Keep loose blankets, pillows, stuffed toys, bumpers, and other soft items out of the sleep space. 
    • Breastfeed if possible, and avoid smoking.

     

How to Keep your Baby Sleeping Baby Safe - AAP Policy Explained

  • Use a firm, flat surface; a firm surface means that it should not indent when your baby sleeps on it.

  • Place your baby in a crib, bassinet, portable crib or play yard that meets the safety standards on Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    Put your baby on their back for all naps and night sleep.

  • Never sleep with your baby.

  • Instead of bed sharing, room share
  • Keep loose bedding and soft items out of your baby's sleep area.
  • Don't let your baby get overheated.

Other Ways to Lower SIDS Risk

Feed your baby breastmilk -  

Evidence shows that human milk reduces the risk of SIDS. The longer you give your baby breast milk, the more protection it gives.

  • Breastfeed or feed your baby expressed breast milk. The AAP recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about 6 months.
  • Even after you add solid foods to your baby's diet, continue breastfeeding until they're at least 12 months, or longer if you and your baby desire.

Try giving your baby a pacifier at nap time and bedtime

This helps reduce the risk of SIDS, even if the pacifier falls out after your baby is asleep. But keep in mind:

  • If your baby is breastfed, wait until breastfeeding is established before offering a pacifier. That means your milk supply is good, breastfeeding is comfortable and consistent, your baby is latching well and they're gaining weight like they should. If you're not breastfeeding your baby, you can start the pacifier whenever you like.
  • It's OK if your baby doesn't want a pacifier. You can try offering again later, but some babies simply don't like them. If the pacifier falls out after your baby falls asleep, you don't have to put it back in.
  • Don't hang a pacifier around your baby's neck or attach it to their clothing when they're sleeping.

Date issued: 12/14/22

Nearly everyone, including babies and young kids, can stay healthy while protecting their family and others from COVID. The original COVID vaccine and updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for kids age 6 months and older. Vaccination is the best way to protect your child against COVID.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommend that all eligible kids and teens get the COVID vaccine.

You or your child may have questions about COVID prevention. Your pediatrician is here to help. Here's what you need to know.

Which pediatric COVID vaccine should I choose?

  • First your baby or young child will receive two doses of the original vaccine. Then, they will get a third dose of an updated vaccine. Receiving these vaccines helps your child's body develop immunity to protect them from serious illness. The updated COVID vaccine dose boosts immunity to the original virus and recent variants.

  • COVID vaccines made by two manufacturers (Moderna and Pfizer- BioNTech) are authorized for babies and young children. The AAP does not recommend one vaccine product over another. Children age 6 months through 4 years will receive the vaccine from the same manufacturer for all doses

    (If they received three doses of the original vaccine already (Pfizer), a fourth dose of the vaccine is not recommended for kids age 6 months through 4 years at this time.)

    Children will have highest degree of protection two weeks after they get the last recommended dose.

Where can babies and young kids get a COVID vaccine?

  • If your child is not up to date on other vaccinations, ask to receive them with their COVID vaccine at the same visit. Immunizations help your child stay healthy, so their immune system is ready to respond to diseases like COVID, measles, polio, whooping cough and the flu.

  • It is always best to begin with your child's pediatrician. Pediatricians are a trusted source, and they know your child best.

    If your child's pediatrician does not have the COVID vaccine, they can help you sort through options. Depending on your child's age, the vaccine may be available through public health agencies, many clinic settings and pharmacies.

    For help accessing COVID vaccines, text your Zip code to 438829, visit https://www.vaccines.gov, call 1-800-232-0233 or TTY 1-888-720-7489.

Will my baby have side effects after the COVID shot?

Most parents are familiar with minor side effects as their child's immune system learns to make antibodies against a disease. Side effects may include things like soreness and redness where the shot goes in. Some babies and children don't feel well later in the day of the shot or on the next day. A small number of children develop a fever—and very few get high fever. Usually, it lasts only a day or two while their immunity is building up.

If your child had a COVID infection, they should still receive a COVID vaccination according to CDC guidelines. It is possible to be infected again with the virus. Vaccines help protect your child by providing extra protection from COVID, even after they have had a COVID infection. People who already had COVID and do not get vaccinated after they recover are more likely to get COVID again than those who get vaccinated after they recover.

Remember

Just like the rest of us, babies and young kids deserve to get the same immune-boosting benefits against COVID. Plus, they are helping to keep others healthy! For example, infants under age 6 months are too young to get the vaccine. Between January 2020 and October 2022, there were 265 babies under age 6 months who died of COVID. And that is why it is very important for pregnant and breastfeeding people—and all other people who are around babies—to protect the baby by getting vaccinated.

More information

Date Issued: 07/12/2023

Smoke from Canadian wildfires recently polluted the air, causing alerts for unhealthy air quality (code red) across PA!

Find out all about the Air Quality Index at airnow.gov and find out the AQI for your area by typing in your zip code.

According to the Allergy and Asthma Network, prolonged exposure to poor-quality air can cause respiratory problems for everyone. Babies and young children are groups that are considered at high risk. More information about ozone exposure and protective measures can be read here, and information about asthma can be found at healthychildren.org.

Watch this brief video from the asthma and allergy network about an asthma action plan; this plan can help ECE providers know how to respond to a child with asthma symptoms.

Date issued: 02/09/23

Based on current COVID-19 trends, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is planning for the federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19, declared under the Section 319 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act, to expire at the end of the day on May 11th, 2023. The response by HHS to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, remains a public health priority.  The transition away from the emergency phase can begin.  For more information, read this informative fact sheet regarding the public health emergency transition roadmap for COVID-19.

covid 19 

Date issued: 01/12/23

Effective January 1, 2023 a new surveillance case definition for multsystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) was implemented for reproting cases of MIS-C.

MIS-C is a rare but severe complication in children and young adults infected with SARS-CoV-2 the virus that causes COVID-19.

The new case definition criteria can be viewed at Information for Healthcare Providers about Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) CDC.

Key Changes to the Definition:

  • 1. No required duration of subjective or measured fever.

  • 2. A requirement of C-reactive protein greater than 3.0mg/dl to indicate systematic inflammation.

  • 3. Adjustments to criteria of organ system involvement to include addition of shock as a separate category and elimination of respiratory, neurologic and renal criteria.

  • 4. A new requirement on timing of a positive SARS-CoV-2 laboratory testing within 60 days of MIS-C illness.

Reporting:

  • Healthcare providers must report suspected cases of MIS-C by faxing the 2023 case report form to 717-772-6975 or to your local health department or by securely emailing the form to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Click HERE for the CASE REPORT FORM.  There is addtional case report guidance that can be referenced when completing the form.