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Five Ways Your Early Childhood Program Can Support Immunization by the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 3, 2016

 


During the first years of a child’s life, cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development are inextricably linked.  Poor health in a very young child can have negative impacts on other areas of development[1].  The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) considers health and safety practices as the foundation of quality early care and education settings, and includes immunization as a key component of its Caring for Our Children Basics guidelines [2]. 


Immunizations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) help protect infants and young children from 14 diseases, such as whooping cough, that can be very serious or even deadly.  Institutional outbreaks of whooping cough, such as those in a daycare center or school, are common, taking place each year in many states. Measles outbreaks in childcare settings have also been documented.  

 

“By keeping children healthy and decreasing the chances of outbreaks, immunizations can help early childhood programs create a safe environment for children,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.  “This not only applies to child care settings, but also to programs in home settings, where infants and young children be can be exposed to diseases through family and friends.” 

 

Here are five ways that you can support on-time immunization of infants and young children in your early childhood program:

 

1.       Ensure that families in your program are vaccinated according to CDC’s recommended schedule and meet your state’s child care vaccination requirements.  Consult your state health department’s website to find a list of required vaccines.  Find out if your state has an immunization registry.  If it does, ask your state immunization program if early childhood administrators can use it to verify children’s vaccination status. 

 

2.       Ensure that your staff are vaccinated as well, so that they don’t pass along a disease to the children in your program.  It’s especially important for them to be up to date on their pertussis, measles, and flu shots.

 

3.       Promptly notify your state or local health department if any children in your program come down with a notifiable vaccine-preventable disease.  Visit your health department’s website for a list of notifiable diseases in your state.

 

4.       Parents may seek the advice of early childhood program staff when it comes to health and safety issues, especially if their child does not have a regular primary care provider.  Provide your program staff with basic information about the childhood immunization schedule and the benefits and risks of vaccination.  Incorporate this information into your training for new hires and organize special professional development sessions for existing staff.  CDC’s vaccine website for parents (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents) contains useful information for staff without medical training. (See the Resources section.)  CDC also has a suite of materials for health care professionals, which can be accessed at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/conversations.

 

5.       Educate families in your program about vaccine-preventable diseases and the importance of on-time immunization.  There are many ways to do this.  For example:

a.       Post a link to CDC’s vaccine website for parents (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents) on your program website.

b.      Post messages promoting immunization on your social media accounts. Visit https://go.usa.gov/xxT7R for sample Facebook posts and https://go.usa.gov/xxT7d for sample Twitter messages.

c.       Order free copies of CDC’s Parents Guide to Immunizations and distribute them to parents in your program: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/tools/parents-guide.

d.      Print, and distribute copies of CDC’s Immunizations and Developmental Milestones Tracker: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/downloads/milestones-tracker.pdf.

e.      Print and distribute copies of CDC’s fact sheet “Infant Immunization FAQs”, which is available in English and Spanish: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/parent-questions.html

f.        If there is a disease that is of particular concern in your community, print and distribute CDC’s disease fact sheets (available in English and Spanish): https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/diseases

g.       Print CDC immunization posters and display them in your facilities: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niiw/promotional/print-materials/ads-posters.html#print-ads

h.      Publish CDC’s drop-in articles for parents through in your newsletter or blog: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niiw/media-tools.

 

Immunizations keep children healthy so that they can spend more time learning, growing, and socializing with peers.  Early childhood programs have an important role to play in educating the parents of young children about the benefits of immunization and ensuring that children in their programs stay on schedule with their vaccines. 



 


[1]Ensuring Adequate Health Coverage for Infants and Toddlers.  Zero to Three. Policy Resource.  March 9, 2008.  https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/442-ensuring-adequate-health-coverage-for-infants-and-toddlers

[2] Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2015. Caring for Our Children Basics. Health and Safety Foundations for Early Care and Education. 

Tags:  child care settings  Child Health  Early Childhood Education  ECE  good health  Immunizations  standards 

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Air Quality

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Updated: Friday, May 30, 2014
Written by: Eco-Healthy Child Care®

Clean air is necessary for good health – both indoors and outdoors.

Children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution because their lungs are still developing. Children also breathe in more air per pound of body weight than do adults.  Exposure to some pollutants can decrease lung function or cause asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and even cancer.  
Did you know that indoor air can be 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air?  And since we spend more time indoors than outdoors, the U.S. EPA says that health risks “may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors.”  In addition poor ventilation, the presence of dirt, contaminants, moisture, and warmth, which encourage the growth of mold, can trigger allergic reactions and asthma.

Outdoor air pollution can be a risk to children’s health, too.  Sources of pollution include vehicles (cars, buses, trucks), industry, ships, trains. Mother Nature can play a role, such as through wild fires.  Human activities such as smoking and campfires also contribute. Traffic pollutants include possible harmful chemicals in gasoline; diesel exhaust is a carcinogen. Child care facilities located less than 500 feet from major roadways or close to heavy bus traffic may be exposed to excessive levels vehicle exhaust.

Here are some recommendations to improve your indoor air quality:
  • Ventilate - Increase ventilation naturally by opening screened windows and using fans.
  • Prevent mold and mildew- reduce excess moisture and humidity. Fix leaks and clean spills promptly. Use a fan that vents to the outdoors in both bathroom and kitchen. For major water leaks hire a professional company to ensure drying within 24-48 hours.
  • Do not use scented candles, air fresheners or products with fragrances.
  • Never smoke on child care premises, in your car or near children. If you do smoke, wear a smoking jacket and remove it upon entering buildings. Wash hands immediately.
To protect children from outdoor air pollutants:
  • Adopt a no-idling policy. Pollution from idling vehicles can also enter a facility.
  • Know your Air Quality- Check your local air quality index (AQI) daily, usually found in your weather forecast, or visit www.airnow.gov. If the forecast is for a Code Orange day (unhealthy for sensitive populations) or above, minimize strenuous outdoor activities or keep children indoors.
To learn more about Air Quality, check out EHCC’s fact sheets at www.cehn.org/ehcc/factsheets. Many factors affect indoor air quality.  In addition to our Air Quality fact sheet, EHCC fact sheets on pesticides, furniture and carpets, household chemicals, and radon offer additional tips for healthier indoor air. EHCC helps early childhood learning environments to be as healthy, safe and green as possible by reducing children’s exposure to toxic chemicals.  To learn more about this science-based and award-winning program, visit www.cehn.org/ehcc.

Tags:  air quality  children's safety  Eco-Healthy Child Care  good health 

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