Program Health Policies
Talking with Pediatricians and Child Care Health Care Consultants can be very helpful as you create your program's health policies. We have Consultants on staff here who can assist you. You should have a written health plan and policies to give to the parents in your program.
Health and Immunization Forms
Parents should supply a physical health form and immunization form for each child. These forms must be signed by a pediatrician or family doctor. The forms are confidential and should be kept in a readily accessible file.
Parents should inform you right away if their child contracts any serious contagious disease. The program director should notify all of the families in the program in writing, describing the symptoms and precautions. Your health policy should state:
- How long a child with a contagious disease must stay out of child care
- When a child can return to care. For example, after three days on an antibiotic or after the child's doctor signs a note stating that the child is no longer contagious.
Daily Health and IllnessEach child's file should contain the name and telephone numbers of the people to contact if the child gets sick. Your health policy should state when children need to be sent home due to a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. Any sick child should be separated from the other children and be given a quiet place to rest until she goes home. Policies should state when children need to be kept out of care and when they can return.
You cannot give a child medication unless you are Medication Administration Trained (MAT). The only exceptions are over-the-counter topical ointments, creams, gels and sprays.
Each staff member must have an annual physical exam and follow the program's health policies regarding illness and contagious diseases. Staff must also have required immunizations and vaccinations.
Proper hand washing practices are very important for prevention of disease in child care programs. Staff will need to wash their hands frequently with soap and running water. Children should be supervised to ensure they wash hands after toileting or nose wiping, and before eating or handling food. Children and staff should use liquid soap from a dispenser, and use paper towels (not cloth) to avoid passing germs.
Times to wash hands:
- After wiping a child's nose, eyes, or mouth
- After contact with any bodily fluids, such as blood or saliva (your own or others')
- After changing a child's diaper or soiled clothing
- After assisting a child with toileting
- After applying any salves or ointments to a child's skin
- After blowing your own nose or using the toilet
- Before handling food, preparing or serving a meal or snack
- Before administering medications
- After handling animals or birds
- After playing or working outdoors
- After handling any toxins, such as household cleansers