Stay Safe in Hot Weather

Extreme heat can make children sick in many ways, including dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

It is possible to safely participate in outdoor activities during the summer heat. To help protect kids from heat illness::

  • Stay hydrated
  • Dress lightly
  • Provide shade in play areas
  • Plan for extra rest time
  • Cool off
  • Prevent the effects of sun exposure

Weather monitoring resources:
Staff can use the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Child Care Weather Watch resource to help understand words used in weather forecast. This resource, along with local forecasts, can help staff monitor the temperature, humidity, and air quality. To stay up to date on current conditions: https://idph.iowa.gov/Portals/1/Files/HCCI/weatherwatch.pdf

Check the Air Quality Index at http://airnow.gov and subscribe to EnviroFlash. This service from the US Environmental Protection Agency and state/local environmental agencies provides daily emails with information about local air quality. Poor air quality can negatively affect children with asthma and other special health care needs.
Check the forecast for the UV Index at https://www.epa.gov/enviro/uv-index-overview to limit exposure to the sun on days when the Index is high.

Sign up to receive hourly weather forecasts from the National Weather Service on a computer or mobile phone. The National Weather Service (NWS) provides up-to-date weather information on all advisories and warnings. It also provides safety tips for caregivers/teachers to use as a tool in determining when weather conditions are comfortable for outdoor play. www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/index.shtml

Stay hydrated

Encourage children to drink water regularly and have it readily available—even before they ask for it.

Infants: On hot days, infants receiving breast milk in a bottle can be given additional breast milk in a bottle, but they should not be given water—especially in the first six months of life. Infants receiving formula can be given additional formula in a bottle.
Toddlers and preschool children: Provide regularly scheduled water breaks to encourage all children to drink during active play, even if they don’t feel thirsty. Fluoridated water (bottled or from the faucet) can reduce the risk of early childhood caries and is the best drink choice for young children in between meals.


Sources: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/Protecting-Children-from-Extreme-Heat-Information-for-Parents.aspx

CFOC Standards: https://nrckids.org/CFOC/Database/4.2.0.6

https://nrckids.org/CFOC/Database/6.1.0.7

https://nrckids.org/CFOC/Database/3.1.3.2

National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/NCECHW/Pages/National-Center-on-Early-Childhood-Health-and-Wellness.aspx

Posted 8/10/2021

Early educators have a vital role in the lives of children. What teachers/caregivers do can directly impact each child’s health and wellbeing. Teachers need the knowledge, skills and tools to meet this awesome responsibility! ECELS recently revised three self-learning modules so they are now updated and easy-to-use in online or print formats:

Each module meets STAR Level 2 Performance Standards for Health and Safety and provides 2 hours of professional development credit. See the brief overview of each module below, click on the active link above or go to the ECELS website at www.ecels-healthychildcarepa.org Select the Professional Development/Training tab at the top of the page, then Self-Learning Modules. Find the one you want to use in the alphabetical listing of the more than 30 Self-Learning Modules that ECELS offers.

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ECELS is collecting transition ideas. How do you get all the children's hands washed, and keep their hands clean until they sit together to eat? Without a sink for every child to wash at the same time, what activities do you use for children who wash first to wait for those who wash last? Send your favorite ideas to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or fax them to 484-446-3255. We hope to collect good ideas to share in an upcoming issue of Health Link Online or as a Health Capsule.

The approaches you use are likely to differ for toddlers, preschoolers and school age children. You may have a routine transition or a collection of different approaches you use.

See Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools, 4th Edition available at https://shop.aap.org/ or search www.healthychildren.org for more information. In PA, please send your health and safety request with your name and phone number to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Common myths and scientific evidence about currently recommended vaccines are discussed on the website of the Vaccine Education Center of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The Vaccine Education Center is funded by civic-minded donors, not pharmaceutical companies. View the facts about vaccines. Download information sheets for staff and parents, including one about common vaccine myths. Reviewed and reaffirmed 4/2018.

Common myths about vaccines are discussed on the website of the Vaccine Education Center of the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia. The Vaccine Education Center is funded by civic-minded donors, not pharmaceutical companies. To view this and the many other excellent resources on the website of  the Vaccine Education Center, click here or put the url in your browser http://www.chop.edu/service/vaccine-education-center.  2/2019

Early care and education staff members must check children's immunization records to be sure that the children are up-to-date and protected against vaccine-preventable diseases. This task requires looking at the record and understanding the abbreviations for the required vaccines. Vaccine products for children may contain single vaccines (protection against a single disease, e.g. Hepatitis b) or multiple vaccines (protection against multiple diseases, e.g. MMR for measles, mumps, rubella). These multiple vaccines are often called "combo or combination vaccines". Different vaccine manufacturers may produce either single or combo vaccines. Click here for the CDC website or put http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/vaccines-list.htm in your browser to view the names and components as well as learn more about vaccines in current use. Reviewed and reaffirmed 2/2019

Learn about vaccines and how they work, the science behind vaccines, immunity, and the diseases that vaccines prevent. Parents of children who suffered vaccine-preventable diseases tell their stories. Vaccine myths are debunked. You may watch the videos on line. Go to Vaccine Education Center | Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (chop.edu). Select the video you want to watch. Reviewed and reaffirmed 7/8/21.

“Vaccines and Your Baby” is a 28-minute video that explains the basics of vaccines. You’ll learn about vaccines and how they work, the science behind vaccines, immunity, and the 11 diseases that vaccines prevent. Parents of children who suffered vaccine-preventable diseases tell their stories. You may watch the video on line. Click here to watch the video. See the Vaccine Education Center | Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (chop.edu) for complete, up-to-date and reliable information about vaccines to parents and healthcare professionals. 7/8/21

Water play offers wonderful developmental learning opportunities.  However, early educators must control the risks of drowning and spread of infection from contaminated water. It takes less than 30 seconds for a young child to begin to drown. More than 250 children less than 5 years of age drown each year. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that most children age 4 and older should learn to swim. Children between 1 and 4 years of age may benefit from formal swimming lessons. However, nobody should rely on a child’s swimming skills to become less vigilant about supervising a child in the water.  To learn more about how to reduce the risk of drowning, go to the websites of the Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.cpsc.gov and the AAP at www.aap.org. Search for “drowning” on both sites. Preventing bad germs from spreading through contact with water requires vigilance too. Early care and education providers must pay attention to controlling both of these risks. 

ECELS offers many live and recorded webinars available to use for PA Key and Act 48 credit. The recordings are on the ECELS website a week or so after the live webinar. “Managing Challenging Behaviors” was the first ECELS webinar for 2016. It was presented live on 1/14/2016.

Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is on the rise.  Whooping cough can kill infants who are too young to have received all of their pertussis vaccine doses. Infants and young children routinely receive a vaccine called DTaP. The letters stand for diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis.