Illness in daycare is of great concern for parents and daycare providers. Your health and medication regulations can help prevent the spread of illness in daycare. The sick child policy sets forth the rules and expectations. We asked for tips from Dr. Luis Rodriguez, Assistant Executive Director of Quality Improvement & Health Services at Episcopal Social Services. In our interview, Dr. Rodriguez shows us how to prevent illness in daycare.
OwnADaycare: When is a child too sick to go to daycare or preschool? In other words, what symptoms should parents look for that signal that the child should stay at home?
Dr. Luis Rodriguez: At Episcopal Social Services (ESS) we adhere to the strict guidelines developed by the New York City Department of Health. To ensure the safety of children and staff, children and adults who have the following conditions will be excluded from the classroom until either the condition subsides, or there is documentation from that individual’s medical provider stating that they are no longer contagious.
- An oral temperature over 100 degrees
- A painful, red throat, even if fever is not present
- A deep, hacking cough
- Difficulty breathing or untreated wheezing
- An unexplained rash
- Vomiting (more than one time in the last 24 hours)
- Complaints of stiff neck and headache with more that one of the above stated symptoms
- Thick green drainage from the nose along with sinus pressure, fever or tiredness
- Yellow discharge from the eyes
- An unusual yellow coloring of the skin or eyes
- Cuts or opening on the skin that are pus-filled or oozing
- Lice or nits
- A contagious disease
OwnADaycare: Daycare providers and preschool teachers are taught to assess a child for illness when they enter the facility each day (when the children are drooped off) what should they be looking for?
Dr. Luis Rodriguez: ESS daycare personal who care for the children should observe the level of activity of the child (less active, more withdrawn) this could be a sign that the child is becoming ill or that there is something wrong with his/her usual behavior. They should also ask their parents if their child has been sick or if there is someone at home who is sick. Additionally, it is extremely important to take the child’s temperature and look for any kind of skin rash. We use a lot of common sense when assessing the health of the children – treating those children as if they were our own. It is important to coordinate our efforts with advice from each child’s physicians. Phone numbers to both the physicians and the parents are always readily available.
OwnADaycare: What measures can preschool teachers and day care providers take to prevent the spread of illness in the daycare or preschool environment?
Dr. Luis Rodriguez: At ESS it is mandated to use hand washing and universal precautions to prevent the spread of illnesses. Hand washing should be done before handling, preparing or serving food; after diapering, assisting with toilet and before and after treating a wound. Hand washing procedures are to be followed even when non-porous gloves have been worn. Signs instructing our staff are posted in each lavatory and in any area where food is prepared or handled. Home-Based service providers are encouraged to wash hands at the beginning and at the end of each session. In the event it is not possible to follow recommended procedures, antibacterial cleansers are recommended as a substitute until proper procedures can be followed
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