As you prepare for fall enrollment, now is a good time for early care and education programs to make sure all staff are up-to-date with recommended immunizations. Getting vaccinated is an important part of staying healthy. Routine immunization of adults is the best way to protect yourself against vaccine-preventable diseases. Several of the vaccines routinely recommended for adults will prevent diseases that can be spread to children in the child care setting, including pertussis (whooping cough), varicella (chicken pox), measles, mumps, rubella and influenza.
Start your influenza vaccine efforts now too! All children 6 months of age and older and staff should get influenza vaccine.
This workshop enables the user to learn how to assess health and safety practices in programs for infants and toddlers in conjunction with use of the ITERS assessment tool. Discuss feeding, diapering, sleeping, fostering early brain development, managing illness and more. Use the assessment to make improvements in the program.
Special practices are needed to protect early education and school-age providers from contact with blood or other potentially infectious body fluids. Use this online module to learn how to comply with the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop an exposure control plan, how to care for a human bite, prevent injuries from sharps, and the procedure for post-exposure treatment. This module includes OSHA's Bloodborne Exposure Control Plan you can use by filling in the blanks. PA child care staff may submit completed work for review for credit by scanning the pages and attaching them to an e-mail, sending them by fax or by surface mail to ECELS. Be sure to follow the instructions in the “Important Reminders” box next to the list of self-learning modules on this webpage.
Outbreaks of influenza can be stopped by requiring that most child care workers and children who are over 6 months of age get flu vaccine. The CDC reported low influenza vaccination rates among child care workers in a national sample. The most common reasons for not getting the vaccine were mistaken ideas. The respondents didn't understand that they needed to get the vaccine, that the vaccine does prevent or reduce the severity of the flu, and that the vaccine is safe. Those who got the vaccine had the facts and felt some external pressure to receive the vaccine. Strong promotion of flu vaccine is associated with significantly decreased rates of emergency department visits for flu-like symptoms.
Pennsylvania regulations already require that children receive vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. All children over 6 months of age should receive flu vaccine. New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut are requiring that teachers/caregivers have influenza vaccinations too. Flu vaccine reduces the risk of severe flu for them, the children in their care and family members. Contact in child care is a well-known factor in the spread of influenza in the community. While the current flu vaccine is not perfect, it will reduce the risk. The flu season peaks in January-March. It’s not too late to get some protection from flu vaccine.
This CDC "flu" website is a good home base for information about influenze. It has handouts, clear explanations about the risks and protections. Reviewed and reaffirmed 3/2018.
The influenza (flu) virus is common and unpredictable. It can cause serious complications – even in healthy children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 136 influenza-related pediatric deaths for 2018-2019. The 2018–2019 influenza season was the longest-lasting season reported in the United States in the past ten years. Certain people are more at risk for serious flu-related complications. These include:
• Children younger than 5 years of age, especially those younger than 2 years
• Preterm infants
• Children of any age with certain long-term health problems, for example, asthma or other lung disorders, heart disease, or a neurologic or neurodevelopmental disorder
• Pregnant women
• Older adults age 65 years and older: Immune systems decline as adults age.
The influenza vaccine is on the recommended Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) schedule and is mandatory for children 6 months of age and older in child care. Children enrolled in a before or after-school program at a licensed child care facility are required by the PA Department of Human Services / Office of Child Development and Early Learning (DHS/OCDEL) to follow the ACIP schedule. Child care programs must have documentation on file for each child that flu vaccine was given. DHS permits written exemptions from immunization for religious belief or strong personal objection equated to a religious belief or medical exemption. If flu or other vaccines cannot be given due to severe allergic reaction or other medical exemption, the child must have a written, signed and dated statement from the child’s physician, physician’s assistant or certified registered nurse practitioner on file at the child care program. If a child's appointment for flu vaccine is scheduled, have documentation in the child’s file at the child care program with the date.
The flu vaccine helps reduce serious illness and deaths that occur every year from influenza. For the 2019-20 flu season, the national American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that any licensed, recommended, age-appropriate vaccine available can be administered. Flu mist is an approved form of the vaccine for this season. Some children may need two doses of flu vaccine. Get flu vaccine as soon as it is available for the current season.
In August 2010, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement about the management of head lice infestations in typical K – 12 school settings. (Pediatrics 2010;126:392–403) The statement made some news headlines. It said no healthy child should be excluded or miss any time from school for lice. Also, the policy said “no nit” policies in schools should be abandoned. The AAP statement only applies to school age children in typical K-12 classrooms, not child care settings. However, the AAP book, Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools, 4th edition (2017), echos this policy for child care too.
The fourth editon, released in 2016, of this handy reference about how to prevent and manage infection in group care settings for children can be purchased from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the national organization of pediatricians and other pediatric health professionals. The fourth edition has been completely reviewed and updated to reflect the latest recommendations from Caring for Our Children and the American Academy of Pediatrics, Red Book: 2015 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. It includes new Quick Reference Sheets on Norovirus, MRSA, and Clostridium difficile ("C diff"). Revised 11/30/16.
HealthyChildren.org is a trustworthy website for parents. The American Academy of Pediatrics maintains the site. Recent articles were about measles. This article is in three formats. Choose the printed article in English or Spanish. You can have a narrator read the words. This option highlights the words in the article as the narrator says them. Combining visual and auditory presentation improves understanding.
This workshop draws on the curriculum published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2010 to teach how to manage the risks involved in giving medication in group care settings using the 5 Rights: the right child receives the right medication in the right dose, by the right method at the right time. Participants practice skills and discuss scenarios to identify gaps in practice. Key elements that should be in documentation of medication, policies and procedures are reviewed. Demonstrations and discussions include tips for giving a variety of different types of medication: liquids and pills, eye, ear, nose, topical medications such as diaper cream and sunscreen, inhalers and emergency medicines.
Many children's medicines come in liquid form. Household spoons may be handy for giving children liquid medicines, but using them is not a good way to give the correct dose. Parents and educators should use a syringe, special medicine cup, special dosing spoon or dropper. These devices are marked in milliliters (mL).
Different household teaspoons hold different amounts of liquids. Tablespoons vary in size too. A spoon that gives too little medicine may keep the medicine from working. If a spoon gives too much medicine, the overdose may cause a serious problem. For example, repeatedly giving a child too much acetaminophen (Tylenol)can lead to liver failure. More than 70,000 children go to emergency rooms each year for accidental medicine overdoses. Use of the wrong measuring device causes some of these. Many liquid medicines come with a special dose measuring device calibrated to accurately measure the particular medication. Be sure to use it. If there is no device with the medication, a pharmacist can provide one. If a syringe is used, squirt the medication slowly and gently between the child's tongue and the side of the mouth. This makes it easier for the child to swallow the medicine.
The American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents, physicians and pharmacists to use only metric measurements for oral liquid medications. Metric measurements for liquids in milliliters (ml) or cubic centimeters (cc) should be on prescriptions, medication labels, and dosing devices. This helps children get the correct dose of medication. Do not measure liquid medication in teaspoons or tablespoons.
Please share this information with teachers/caregivers and families. Download and display the new poster in English and in Spanish. Copy and distribute the updated article - also available in both English and Spanish. To access the article in in Spanish, click on "en Espanol" on the page. On the same page, you can listen to the article read to you in English or Spanish.
Families and early childhood educators need to understand how much medicine to give. They should know how often and how long to give it. If they are uncertain about the instructions, they should not give the medication until they have asked the child's health care provider about how to do it. Use the forms in the Medication Administration Packet, Appendix X in Model Child Care Health Policies, 5th edition. This publication is available at www.ecels-healthychildcarepa.org.
Health professionals recommend keeping medicine out of children's reach. Use child safety caps, understanding that these are not "child-proof". They make it harder for the child to open the medicine, giving adults more time to stop the child from getting the medicine. Check labels carefully before giving two medicines together because they may have the same ingredient. Do not mix medicine with food unless the instructions on the medicine say to do so. Also, urge families to bring a list of all medicines the child is taking each time the child sees a health professional.
For medicine mistakes, call the Poison Help number at 800-222-1222. If the child is unconscious, not breathing or having seizures, call 911 first. Be careful when getting rid of unused medicines. In some places, you can drop off medicines at a police department. Make sure to remove labels with personal details. Another way to safely dispose of medicines is to mix them with coffee grounds or kitty litter in a plastic bag you can seal. Throw this sealed bag away in a trash container where children and animals can't get to it. Don't dump the medicine in the toilet or drain, unless the medicine label says it is safe to do it. If you aren't sure how to dispose of a medicine, ask a pharmacist about what to do.
Contributed by Nancy Alleman, ECELS Lead Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator, in collaboration with Ian M. Paul, M.D., M.Sc., FAAP, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drugs.
The PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatrics published the 5th edition of Model Child Care Health Policies in October 2013. Significantly revised and updated, the new edition is a practical tool for adoption and implementation of best practices for health and safety in group care settings for young children. This edition replaces the previously published version and updates of individual policies that were posted on the ECELS website. ECELS encourages early education and child care professionals to adapt the model policies as site-specific documents that fit their programs. Two formats are available: one replicates the hard copy publication. The other format, posted 12-12-2014, has form fields that allow users to insert their site-specific details directly into the PDF document.
Molds grow quickly in moist areas. They are a potent cause of allergy symptoms. Quick response to moisture collections is key. Clean up mold and moisture on hard surfaces with water and a detergent, then dry the surfaces so no moisture remains. Remove surfaces that cannot be completely cleaned.
Pay attention to the humidity of the air. Hardware stores sell inexpensive devices that measure humidity levels. Aim for an indoor humidity between 30% and 60%. Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air. Use them where needed to keep humidity in the healthful range. For more information about how to safely clean mold and manage moisture in educational facilities, go to the Environmental Protection Agency website: http://www.epa.gov/mold/index.html. Some of the materials are available in Spanish as well as in English.*
West Nile Virus (WNV) has been a problem in the U.S. for more than ten years. The virus spreads to humans who are bitten by mosquitos that have fed on infected birds. Several types of ticks are common in gardens and bushes. They carry infections from animals to humans when they feed while attached. Prevent these diseases by preventing mosquito and tick bites. Use insect repellent as recommended below and follow instructions on the product label.