Chapter 10

Chapter 10 - Preventing Illness in Child Care Settings

Observing and Reporting Symptoms of Illness

Your observations provide valuable information to help parents and health care providers know how to best treat a child. The following are guidelines for observing, reporting and responding to symptoms of illness.

Report your observations rather than drawing conclusions or making a diagnosis. For example:

“Mary’s finger is swollen and bruised looking.” (observation)


“Mary’s finger is broken.” (diagnosis)

Guidelines for Excluding from Child Care

Children and staff with symptoms of communicable disease can spread the disease to others. Children and staff should be excluded from child care until a doctor’s clearance is received. The following guidelines are to help you determine when it would be better not to have the child or staff person present:

Laundering and Cleaning


As mentioned earlier, some germs can be passed from child to object to another child. Anything that comes in close contact with the child can carry disease. To prevent this, certain items must be used by only one child or be laundered before being used by another child. Assign blankets, sheets, cots, cribs and mattresses to one child.

Each child’s bedding (sheets, pillows and blankets) should be stored individually so the bedding does not come in contact with another child’s.

Sanitizing and Disinfecting

Sanitize food contact surfaces (dishes, utensils, cutting boards and high-chair trays), toys that children may place in their mouths and pacifiers.  Let fresh solution stand for two minutes or air-dry.

Disinfect nonporous surfaces such as diaper-change tables, countertops, door and cabinet handles and toilets.  (Apply as a spray or poured fresh solution, not by dipping into a container with a cloth that has been in contact with a contaminated surface.)

Diaper-changing Procedure


Hand-Washing Procedure


Using Hand Sanitizers

No chemical substitute (sanitizer solution) is as effective as running water. Hand sanitizers do not substitute for or serve as a replacement for hand washing in running water and soap.

Deciding What Action to Take for Symptoms of Illness

Symptoms Action Needed if YES:
Is this a sudden blindness (in part or complete)? Call parents; parents need to call health care provider immediately

Medications in the Child Care

Sometimes young children need medicine during the day when they are in child care. The following suggestions will help child care providers to be sure that children get the care they need to stay healthy. These are general guidelines; there may be some exceptions to these recommendations. Always check with the parents before administering any medications to any child in your care.

If medicine is given at child care, consider these questions:

Prevention Is Critical

Prevention Is Critical

The best method of preventing the spread of all types of infections is good hygiene to help stop the spread of germs. Two strategies are very important and cannot be overemphasized.

  • Staff and children should wash their hands properly and frequently, using running water and liquid soap and disposing of towels after one use.
  • Promptly clean soiled surfaces with a bleach solution prepared daily (1/2 cup of bleach per gallon of water).



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