flu season, one of the largest concerns for most parents is how to reduce their child’s
chances of getting sick, especially if their children go to daycare. Below
are four important tips for parents to remember:
It is important to ask yourself, “is my child healthy enough to go
to daycare / school today?” What makes a child contagious? Things like fevers, rashes with fevers,
strep throat, and infectious diarrhea. Please be sure to ask your childcare
center what criteria they use—and as a parent, know when to keep
your child home to prevent spread of infection. It’s also a good
idea to ask the childcare center if their employees are up to date on
immunizations including Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis/whooping
cough); Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR); and the flu shot.
Keeping your hands clean is the No. 1 way to prevent the spread of infection. Clean your hands and your child’s hands before eating, after using
the bathroom, after sneezing or coughing, and especially if after visiting
someone who is sick. Scrub hands together with warm soapy water for at
least 20 seconds at a time—or ask the child to sing the ABC’s
or Twinkle Little Star while they scrub. Anyone 24 months and older can
use alcohol hand sanitizer in place of washing their hands, unless their
hands are visibly soiled. Just so you know, daycare staff should be required
to wash their hands after changing diapers or assisting a child to the
bathroom, before food preparation, after touching any bodily fluids (including
runny noses), and many more times throughout the day.
Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected frequently—both
at home, and at a childcare center. The following items need specific attention:
Changing tables should have a new paper liner for each diaper change and then the surface
should be wiped down with a disinfectant after each change.
Toys should have a washable surface and items that cannot be disinfected should
not be shared between children (i.e. stuffed animals).
Bottles and nipples should be disposable or sanitized between each use.
Cribs and sleeping mats need a cover sheet and should be regularly disinfected.
Proper handling and preparation of food is important to prevent foodborne
illnesses. Your childcare center should follow the following procedures: food and
beverages should be not prepared in the same room as the bathroom, changing
tables, or playrooms; reusable utensils and plates need to be sanitized
between uses; food and milk should be stored at safe temperatures; and
leftover foods should be well labeled and stored appropriately.
To learn more about infection prevention in early childcare centers, the
American Academy of Pediatrics,
The National Resource Center, and the
American Public Health Association developed further guidelines in the
Caring for Our Children publication, which can be found
The Campbell County Medical Group
Kid Clinic is a school-based pediatric clinic offering medical care and counseling services
for Campbell County students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and
their siblings ages 2 weeks and up. It is located at 800 Butler Spaeth
Rd., across from St. Matthew’s Catholic Church. The Kid Clinic is
open Monday-Friday from 8 am-5 pm. For more information, call 307-688-8700 or visit
www.cchwyo.org/kidclinic. The Kid Clinic is a collaborative effort between Campbell County Health and
Campbell County School District.
This blog was written by
Val Amstadt, PA