Health issues and policies in a child care facility

Make sure sound health-related policies are followed at any child care facility you are considering for your child. Ask about the following issues, and get written documentation if possible:

  • Is smoking banned from the facility?
  • Do all children and staff have up-to-date immunizations? How are immunizations monitored?
  • What procedures do staff follow when a child becomes ill? What precautions do they take to help prevent the spread of illness? Children should not be allowed in group child care if they are not physically able to participate in activities because of illness or if they are too ill to be taken care of by staff without jeopardizing the safety of other children.1
  • Will staff give prescribed medication?
  • How are parents notified when a child at the facility has a highly contagious or serious illness?
  • Are all caregivers trained and committed to placing infants to sleep on their backs (to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome [SIDS])? Some caregivers may not consistently follow the policy because they don't fully understand the associated SIDS risk.2 Approximately 20% of SIDS deaths occur in child care settings.3

Citations

  1. American Academy of Pediatrics (2006). Children in out-of-home child care. In LK Pickering, ed., Red Book: 2006 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases, 27th ed., pp. 130–145. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
  2. Moon RY, Oden RP (2003). Back to sleep: Can we influence child care providers? Pediatrics, 112(4): 878–882.
  3. Moon RY, et al. (2003). Nighttime child care: Inadequate sudden infant death syndrome risk factor knowledge, practice, and policies. Pediatrics, 111(4): 795–799.

Last Updated: September 26, 2008

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics

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