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
View free, online demonstrations of step-by-step, easy ways to prepare foods for children's meals and snacks. Culinary Institute chefs show the proper techniques in 16 print and 51 brief video lessons. The foods are from the United States Department of Agriculture's collection of recipes for schools. The National Food Service Management Institute at the University of Mississippi hosts the website with this excellent professional development resource.
In addition to the videos and print lessons, the website offers six online courses that allow users to earn continuing education credits. The print and video lessons, online courses and USDA recipes are at http://nfsmi.org/Templates/TemplateDefault.aspx?qs=cElEPTIxNg.
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.
Correct hand hygiene is important in all seasons. Use information on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website to remind everyone about how and when to do it.
Use the CDC posters and the information from the CDC website to make your own posters with photos of the children, drawings or magazine clippings. Here is some wording adapted from the CDC web-site to use on posters in child care programs:
WHEN to perform hand hygiene:1
HOW to perform hand hygiene:2 Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.
Handwashing is a your best defense against germs. Use this poster developed by the The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and The NC Department of Health and Human Services as a reminder about the importance and steps for handwashing. Click here to access the poster. Reviewed and reaffirmed 11/2022
This form guides collaborative problem-solving involving those who are affected, those with authority, and those with expertise. The form encourages documentation of who is involved, the tasks planned, who is responsible, and checkpoints for follow-up. The attachments include a blank copy of the form and a sample of the completed form to address the problem of a 2 year old child who is biting other children.
Brochure that describes the role of a sanitarian or food safety consultant for early education and child care programs. Reviewed and reaffirmed 11/2012
Steps for child care facilities to prevent illness. This approach is for all facilities, but will be especially helpful to those who want to meet the Pennsylvania standards for STARS.
Deciding when to exclude a child who is ill from early learning and education programs can be confusing for staff. Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools: A Quick Reference Guide, clarifies the decision-making process. A child who is ill but does not require immediate medical attention should be excluded if the staff member determines the illness:
a. Prevents the child from participating comfortably in activities as determined by staff
b. Results in a need for care that is greater than the staff can provide without compromising the health and safety of other children
c. Poses a risk of spread of harmful diseases to others based on the list of specific excludable conditions
If any of the above criteria are met, the child should be excluded, regardless of the type of illness.
Immunization is a key component of early childhood development and health. Remember – early childhood and school readiness begin with good health! It is important for early childhood education staff to make immunization a priority. Foster an environment of health with:
• Immunization tracking
• Staff education and adult vaccination as needed
• Parent education
Early childhood education (ECE) programs are prone to disease outbreaks. Recent outbreaks of measles, flu and pertussis (whooping cough) have occurred in ECE settings. Unvaccinated children are at increased risk for disease and can spread disease to others. Babies are at high risk since they are too young to be fully vaccinated.
This updated module explains current nationally recommended immunizations, requirements for early care and education (ECE) programs in Pennsylvania, tools to manage immunization records for children in care and steps to take during an outbreak. View online videos and learn about vaccines on the website of the Vaccine Education Center of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. ECE staff may earn 2 hours of professional development credit for completing this module. Follow the instructions in the "Important Reminders" box beside the list of self-learning modules for ECELS to review your work to award professional development credit. 7/22