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This month from the Kid Clinic: How to help protect your child from getting sick at daycare

This month from the Kid Clinic: How to help protect your child from getting sick at daycare

During 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 here.

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