Summer is a great time to see animals at a local fair or farm, to visit a petting zoo, or to have animals come visit an early education and child care facility. As cute as baby goats, ducklings and other animals can be, many of these animals carry germs that can make people sick.
Here are five ways to make visits with animals a safe, fun and healthy experience for all.
Hand Washing: Children and caregivers should wash their hands with soap and water after petting animals, touching animals, or even being in the animal area. Everyone in the group should wash hands whether or not they touched the animals. Find out in advance if soap and water are available. Don't visit if you find out the facility doesnít provide hand washing facilities. You can use hand sanitizers for children with visibly clean hands who are 24 months or older, but some animal germs are resistant to alcohol. As a make-do until you can get to soap and water, carry a plastic bag of paper towels wet with soapy water and a bag of paper towels just wet with plain water to clean and rinse the children's hands. Wash with running water as soon as you can.
Many early education and child care professionals have heard reports about bed bug infestations in children's homes. Many fear the bugs will infest the program's facility. Learn about bed bugs and the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to control of this bug. Lyn Garling, Manager of Programs, PA IPM Program, Penn State University contributed the following expert content and links to credentialed websites where you can learn more. Handouts are available in English and Spanish.
This workshop highlights special practices needed to protect staff and children from contact with blood or other potentially infectious body fluids. Learn how to minimize risk of exposure to disease causing pathogens (germs, viruses, etc.) Learn how to meet Standard Precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements. Explore the adequacy of your facility's policies and Exposure Control Plan. Discuss how to handle a biting incident.
This workshop teaches early learning practitioners how to recognize and manage occupational health risks, drawing on the content in Caring for Our Children: the National Health and Safety Performance Standards. Addresses management of stress, infectious disease risks and musculo-skeletal (ergonomic) challenges intrinsic to providing child care. Includes assessment of personal and work-site health promotion strategies.
The CDC is a comprehensive source of information on public health issues, including immunization, sanitation, and infectious disease. The CDC provides a large library of information to the public on many topics. Some of the categories include: Diseases and Conditions; Emergency Preparedness & Response; Environmental Health; Life Stages & Populations; Healthy Living, Injury, Violence & Safety; Traveler's Health; Workplace Safety & Health. The CDC website includes a powerful search engine as well as alphabetical listings. Users will find fact sheets, videos, photos, posters, and other useful materials to download.
Colds, coughs and runny noses are more common in the winter than in any other season. Poor circulation of air, dry heated air and crowded indoor spaces make it easier to share germs. Children in their first couple of years of child care or school have one or two more colds than children their age who receive care only at home and who have no siblings to bring infection home. After three years of child care, children in child care have fewer colds than those who have not had the opportunity to build their immunity in group care.
This workshop uses a game approach to teach appropriate response to common illnesses. The content includes myths and facts about childhood illnesses and when temporarily ill children need to be excluded from their group. Includes distribution of current reference materials and the opportunity to practice using them. The reference for the discussion is Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools, a publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Handouts include some of the tables and Quick Reference Sheets from this book.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 44% of young children less than 5 years of age have already had tooth de-cay. Tooth decay causes eating, speaking, learn-ing and behavior problems for young children. Yearly, children in the United States miss over 51 million hours of school due to dental pain.
Infants and toddlers in diapers often get rashes-everything from tiny red bumps to more irritated tender areas.
Why do babies get rashes? One or more conditions can cause a diaper rash. The enzymes that help digest food can be irritating when they come out with feces (poop) into the diaper. Wet diapers can cause irritation where they are in contact with the skin. This is more likely to occur where the diaper rubs the creases of the upper thighs. Yeast growing in the warm, wet diaper areas can be another cause of diaper rash.
Some tips to help prevent diaper rashes are:
Change diapers often. Changing a diaper before it gets very wet and as soon after a child has a bowel movement helps. Prolonged contact of the skin with moisture from pee and/or feces irritates the skin.
Avoid irritating soaps and wipes. Use unscented and alcohol-free diaper wipes or just water rather than other skin cleaning products. Scented soaps and wipes that have alcohol in them can irritate a baby's bottom. The ingredients in many soaps remove the skin's natural oils. Without these normal oils on the skin, skin irritation is more likely.
If the diaper area is red and irritated, clean the skin by patting it with a diaper wipe, with cotton balls soaked in warm water or with freshly laundered, well-rinsed, soft, washcloths wet with water. Avoid rubbing the skin. Always use a fresh wipe, or different wet wash cloth each time you swipe. Once soiled, store reusable cloths in a washable, plastic-lined, tightly covered receptacle until they can be laundered.
Consider use of a barrier product . Ask the family to discuss with the child's health care professional the use of a barrier product if an infant has ongoing difficulty with diaper rash. Barrier diaper creams or ointments can help protect the skin from irritation caused by rubbing on the moist and/or soiled surface of a diaper. They are over-the-counter products that contain petroleum or zinc oxide. If the child has had a problem with diaper rash that requires use of a barrier medication, the program should have instructions from the child's health care provider and permission from the child's parent to use it. The product's container should have the child's name and instructions for use too. Put 2 or 3 tablespoons of the barrier cream on a facial tissue and bring it that way to the diaper changing surface. (Do not bring any of the containers of supplies to the diapering surface. Everything on the diapering surface will need to be disinfected after the diaper change.)
Apply the barrier in a thick layer, spreading it gently and smoothly across the diaper area. Be sure to cover the creases of the upper thighs under the edge of the diaper. When cleaning the child, remove only the soiled barrier product. Rubbing to remove the unsoiled lower layer of barrier product will irritate the skin.
The recommended medication administration and diaper changing procedures are in Caring for Our Children, (CFOC3) Standards 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 for medication administration and Standard 184.108.40.206 for the diaper changing procedure. Access these standards at www.nrckids.org.
Follow the instructions from the child's health care provider and the CFOC3 recommended procedures when using any diaper cream. Some diaper creams contain active ingredients that are not for prolonged use. Documentation of the product applications can be as simple as having a check mark in a diaper cream column on a diaper change log sheet. Note the date and time of the diaper changes there. This lets families know about the frequency of diaper changes and use of recommended medication.
If a diaper rash is bleeding, seems very sore to the child, or lasts more than a few days, be sure to seek guidance from the child's health care provider and check the procedures being used by anyone who is changing the child's diaper.
Contributed by Sarah Macdonald, MD, FAAP, CHOP Care Network High Point
Common diapering errors can often lead to cross contamination in the early learning environment. Addressing these 12 common errors properly will help reduce the spread of germs while diapering. Updated 4-2019
Click on the title for the link to download a fully Illustrated, step-by-step, up to date, tri-fold Diapering Poster. The poster shows the procedure for safe and sanitary diapering. The same steps apply to changing soiled underwear with the child lying down, a position that makes it easier to avoid contamination of the environment and proper cleaning of the child's skin. CCA Global created the poster with guidance from the staff of ECELS. Reproduce and distribute the poster freely to child care professionals. Be sure to retain the citation and copyright. The poster may not be sold without permission from CCA Global. The source of the steps in the poster is the May 2013 updated online standards in Caring for Our Children, 3rd Edition, a publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, and the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education. Reviewed and reaffirmed 4/2018.
The attached ECELS Health and Safety Checklist includes references. It was updated December 2011 as Version 1.4. This tool guides the user to the appropriate national health and safety standard(s) and other related references for each item. Each item is cross-referenced with corresponding topics from: Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards, 3rd Edition, 2011 (CFOC) , the Environmental Rating Scales (ITERS-R, Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale - Revised Edition; ECERS-R, Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale - Revised Edition); and the Pennsylvania Child Care Facility Licensing Regulations. Reviewed and reaffirmed 6/2018.
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows safer products to use the Design for the Environment (DfE) label on products that help protect the environment and are safer to use. The DfE scientific review team has screened each ingredient in these products for potential harmful effects on humans and the environment. Based on what is known, the product contains the least harmful ingredients among chemicals of the type used for the purpose for which the product is being sold. The EPA lists products on its website that have met the DfE criteria. 12/2012