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.
Date issued: 02/09/23
The CDC issued the 2023 Immunization Schedule for children Birth-6 years. Be sure to check out the CDC site for more information: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/child-easyread.html
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Date issued: 11/3/2022
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that parents and caregivers do not use infant head shaping pillows intended to change an infant’s head shape or symmetry or claim to prevent or treat any medical condition. The FDA is not aware of any demonstrated benefit with the use of infant head shaping pillows for any medical purpose. The use of head shaping pillows can create an unsafe sleep environment for infants and may contribute to the risk of suffocation and death.
Infant head shaping pillows are not FDA-approved. The safety and effectiveness of these products have not been established for the prevention or treatment of flat head syndromeExternal Link Disclaimer (also known as positional plagiocephalyExternal Link Disclaimer or deformational plagiocephalyExternal Link Disclaimer), or the more serious condition where the developing infant’s skull bones join together too early (known as craniosynostosis).
Infant head shaping pillows are typically small pillows, with an indent or hole in the center designed to cradle the back of an infant’s head while the infant lays face up, flat on its back. Sometimes these pillows do not have an indent or hole in the center and are rectangular shaped. These medical devices are marketed with claims to improve an infant’s head shape and symmetry and claim to prevent or treat flat head syndrome or other medical conditions. However, the safety and effectiveness of the use of these medical devices has not been demonstrated.
The FDA is informing parents, caregivers, and health care providers of the risks associated with use of infant head shaping pillows. The FDA is working with stakeholders to increase awareness of the issue.
Recently, the FDA became aware of companies marketing infant head shaping pillows with claims for the prevention and treatment of flat head syndrome without FDA clearance or approval. The FDA has communicated our concerns about these promotional materials to these companies and will continue to monitor promotional materials and claims for these medical devices.
The FDA will keep the public informed if significant new information becomes available.
If you experience adverse events associated with using an infant head shaping pillow, we encourage you to file a voluntary report through MedWatch, the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting program. Health care personnel employed by facilities that are subject to FDA's user facility reporting requirements should follow the reporting procedures established by their facilities.
See full health advisory here.
Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Approved or Authorized in the United States - recent changes (updated 9-2-22)
Update posting 9-13-22.
(CDC) Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools and Early Care and Education Programs to Support Safe In-Person Learning updated 10-5-22:
Review the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)'s suggestions COVID-19 Best Practices for Early Childhood Education (ECE)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) breaks down the basics of Post- and Long-COVID - what to look for and how to manage it - here.
The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has released several policy announcements that pertain to the child care regulations for certified child care facilities. Child care providers can go to the Pennsylvania Key website to understand what is required to be in compliance with the established CCDF regulations and the Pennsylvania Child Care Regulations. Compliance dates for these announcements is April 29, 2022.
OCDEL released the policy announcement C-22-04, Updated Emergency Preparedness and Response Planning Regulations and Requirements for Child Care Facilities.
The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), Bureau of Early Learning Policy and Professional Development and Bureau of Certification has released Announcement C-22-06 Updated Health and Safety Pre-Service and One-Hour Training, effective Oct. 4, 2022. This Announcement provides details that all current child care staff who completed the previous health and safety pre-service training modules, prior to October 4, 2022, are required to complete the Pennsylvania Health and Safety Update 2022 Versión en español: Actualización de Salud y Seguridad de Pennsylvania 2022) by December 30, 2022. Beginning December 30, 2022, citations for non-compliance with any requirements to obtain health and safety professional development training updates required by OCDEL within the prescribed timeframe will be issued under 55 Pa. Code §3270.14, §3270.21, §3280.14, §3280.20, and §3290.18, all pertaining to compliance with “pertinent laws and regulations” and “general health and safety.” Also included is the list of previous versions of the health and safety pre-service training expiring Oct. 31, 2022. [posted 10-6-22]
The Pennsylvania Department of Health issues COVID-19 and other health recommendations through the PA Health Alert Network (PA HAN). See link for current 2022 Health Alerts, Advisories and Updates.
The Health Alert Network is part of the Pennsylvania Department of Health's Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Program and was established under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). PA HAN serves as a communication network among state and local public health agencies, health care providers, hospitals and emergency management officials. The information provided on the PA-HAN website is based upon recommendations from the CDC and other health organizations. If you are a public health professional, sign up for the Pennsylvania Health Alert Network (PA HAN).
Contact your own healthcare provider for more guidance. If you have other questions, call your local health department or 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).
The American Academy of Pediatrics Parenting website has many COVID-19 resources to support families. These include: Parenting in a Pandemic; Working and Learning; Getting Outside; Masks for Kids; New Baby Challenges; Disinfectant Safety and Breastfeeding.