Health, Nutrition, and Safety Policies and Procedures

Health Standards

  1. Each family shall have health forms completely filled out as required by the California Department of Social Services, including identification and emergency information and the child’s health history. Each member and staff must have a pre-employment physical examination (signed by a physician) and present updated evidence of a negative TB test, whether tine, x-ray or intradermal as specified by California Department of Social Services.
  2. Basic responsibility for the child’s health rests with the parents.
  3. The Director and the teachers have the authority to isolate and send home a sick child.
  4. To prevent group exposure to contagious disease, parents are required to notify the Director when a child has had exposure to, or become ill with, any contagious disease.
  5. Children with fever or diarrhea must be kept home 24 hours after the symptoms have stopped. Children will not be readmitted to school until the fever and diarrhea have stopped completely. Children should be kept at home with any two of the following symptoms: Runny nose with a colored (yellow or green) mucus, sneezing, cough, complaints about body aches or pains, general lethargy.
  6. Children who are lethargic, or who generally do not feel well enough to participate, will not be admitted to school. The classroom teachers will do a health check when children arrive to school each morning. Teachers have the authority to send home children who are not feeling well enough to attend school.
  7. In accordance with the State of California health regulations, we require immunizations against diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus (series of four), rubella, measles, mumps (one after the first birthday), polio (series of three), haemophilus influenza b (Hib) (one after the first birthday), and hepatitis B (series of three). Vaccinations against Varicella (chicken pox) are currently recommended only.
  8. Working members who become ill should not attempt to co-op, but arrange a substitute instead.

Communicable Disease Policy

Parents are asked to notify the program within twenty-four (24) hours if their child has been exposed to any communicable disease. The Program will notify all parents in writing whenever the children in the program have been exposed to a communicable disease. Further, the program will notify the Commissioner of Health within twenty-four (24) hours of awareness that any illness of condition specified by law or regulation present in the program.

Guidelines for Exclusion from the Program

Certain symptoms in children may suggest the presence of communicable disease. Children who have the following symptoms should be excluded from the child care setting until 1) a health care provider has determined that the symptoms are not associated with an infectious agent, or 2) there is no longer a threat to the health of other children or staff at the program.

Children with any of the following symptoms should be excluded from the program until such time as they meet the criteria listed above:

  • Fever-Axillary (armpit) temperature of 100º F. or higher. Oral temperature of 101º F. Or higher, particularly if accompanied by other symptoms such as difficulty breathing, vomiting, sore throat, diarrhea, headache and/or stiff neck, undiagnosed rash, or the child is unable to participate in normal activities. The child’s temperature must be taken and recorded before any fever-reducing medication is given.
  • Diarrhea- Until the diarrhea has stopped or a medical exam indicates that it is not related to a communicable disease. (Diarrhea is defined as a n increased number of stools as compared with a child’s normal pattern, along with decreased stool formation and/or watery, bloody, or mucous-containing stools.
  • Vomiting- Until vomiting stops. (Vomiting is defined as two or more episodes in the previous 24 hours.)
  • Eye Drainage- Until 24 hours following the presence of thick mucous or pus drainage that has been determined to be a bacterial conjunctivitis, and treatment has begun.
  • Skin Rash-Until a medical examination indicates the symptoms are not those of a communicable disease that requires exclusion.
  • Appearance/Behavior- Child looks and/or acts differently: unusually tired, lethargic, pale, lacking appetite, confused, irritable, or difficult to awaken.
  • Signs/Symptoms of Possible Severe Illness- Unusually tired, uncontrolled cough, irritability, persistent crying, difficulty breathing or wheezing. These symptoms should be evaluated by a heath care provider to rule out severe illness.
  • Unusual Color- A yellow tint (jaundice) to the eyes or skin, gray or white stools, and/or dark, tea-colored urine can be symptoms of hepatitis and should be evaluated by a physician.

The mildly ill child should be excluded if the child is unable to participate in normal activities, or if the child needs more care than can be provided by the child care staff.

Medication Administration

Written instructions from a licensed physician or dentist before administering each prescription medication are required. Medication with the child’s name, current prescription information and directions for use on the label constitutes written instructions by the health care provider. Any over-the-counter medication is given according to the manufacturer’s instructions. All medication is given with the standardized measuring device. Over-the-counter medications are considered all those not prescribed by a licensed medical source, including homeopathic agents. Parental permission is needed for all prescriptions and over-the-the counter medications.

We will accept only original, current prescription bottles or containers containing a legible label. Medications are given only to the child whose name is on the prescription label.

Medications are stored in approved, covered containers, and labeled. They are always stored in locations inaccessible to children.

The staff members assigned to give medications will individually administer the mediation according to posted guidelines. The dosage, date and time of each administration of medication will be noted on each child’s permission slip and signed by the staff member administering the medication. The staff member administering medications will follow the instructions set fort on the medication container and the parent’s instructions on the permission slip.

If a medication is not administered on time, and if it is more than one (1) hour past the prescribed administration time, the parent(s) will be contacted for further instructions.

After completing the medication cycle, the empty bottle or container will be returned to the parent, or disposed of properly.

The permission slip is filed in the child’s folder.

Sun Injury

To protect children from sun injury, parents should apply sunscreen to their children before school daily. Our yard is shaded with trees and awnings.

Insect Borne Diseases

The yard is checked daily for standing water to prevent mosquito infestations. Teachers check the yard every day for insects and spiders.

Choking and Suffocation Hazard

  • Frequently inspect toys to make sure there are no small detachable parts. Toys should be age appropriate. Young children often place things in their mouth.
  • Heavy string and rope should be stored out of reach of young children. Encourage children to keep strings and yarns away from their necks.
  • When using balloons please be cautious of any small pieces as they are a choking hazard.
  • Toilets and sinks could be potential hazards for drowning. Supervise children in the bathroom at all times.
  • Children should be closely supervised at the water table. The table should be emptied or covered after use and whenever it is not being supervised.
  • Buttons, pins, needles, and all small, pointed instruments should be stored in a child proof container.

Choking on food is a significant hazard for preschool children. All staff has training in handling choking young children. Young children do not know how to chew well and don’t really use a grinding chewing motion as adults do until about four years of age. Choking can be caused by food getting lodged in the esophagus and putting pressure on the airway or by being inhaled directly into the windpipe.

All the children should be encouraged to eat their food slowly, chewing well. Encourage children to eat sitting down. Popcorn, peanuts, nuts, chunks of carrots, hard candies will not be served to young to children. Grapes should be cut in half and hot dogs sliced down the middle and then cut into small pieces.

Hot Foods and Liquids Policy

Liquids and foods hotter than 110 Degrees Fahrenheit must be out of the children’s reach. Parents’ and teachers’ hot beverages will be kept out of reach of the children at all times.

Precautions for Communal Water Play

  • Children are not allowed to drink from the water table.
  • Children with sores on their hands are not permitted to participate in communal water play.
  • Fresh water is used and changed between groups.
  • The water table is drained and cleaned daily.

Hand Washing

The most important thing you can do in to prevention of the spread of illness is to wash your hands and the children’s hands thoroughly and often, following the Hand Washing Procedure:

  1. Using warm water and soap (preferably liquid), rub your hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Be sure to wash under finger nails, between fingers, and the back of hands and wrists.
  3. Rinse your hands well under running water.
  4. Dry your hands with a single-use paper towel or hot air blow dryer.
  5. Turn off water using a paper towel (if not foot or knee operated) to avoid recontamination of clean hands.

Hands should be washed:

  • When you first arrive at the program.
  • After using the bathroom or helping a child use the bathroom.
  • After changing a diaper.
  • After handling items soiled with body fluids or wastes, such as blood, drool, urine, stools, or nasal or eye discharge.
  • After cleaning up messes.
  • After handling a sick child.
  • Before preparing food.
  • Before eating or drinking.
  • Before administering medication.
  • After playing outside.
  • After handling pets or pet cage.

Children’s hands should be washed:

  • When first arriving at the program.
  • After using the toilet or having their diaper changed.
  • After touching a child who may be sick.
  • After handling soiled items.
  • After playing outside.
  • After handling pets.
  • Before they eat or drink.

Pet Policy

When pets are in the classroom or visiting, they are seen as an educational resource for children. The children will learn to care for and handle the pet in an appropriate manner.

Pets are properly housed, cared for, and licensed and inoculated when needed, in accordance with local health codes.

Teaching staff supervise all interactions between children and animals and instruct children on safe techniques when in close contact to animals. Program staff makes sure that any child who is allergic to a type of animal is not exposed to that animal. Reptiles are not allowed as classroom pets because of the risk of salmonella infection.