Children in a child care facility are at increased risk of illness or infection because they have limited immunity to such illnesses. Child care workers can help control the spread of disease and manage any illnesses that occur.
Understanding how illness and infections are spread
Understanding is the first step to controlling the spread of infection.
Infections are caused by bacteria, viruses or other micro-organisms (germs). These micro-organisms are found in body fluids such as:
- Tiny droplets produced by breathing, coughing or sneezing
Germs can be spread in different ways and can include person-to-person transmission or can be spread indirectly through contaminated objects and surfaces. People who are infected with an illness can spread infection before any symptoms appear, or after the acute illness is over; others who are infected may show now symptoms at all.
Preventing the spread of infection
An important part of infection prevention and control is having an infection control program which includes a manual outlining policies and procedures that are clearly available for employees to access. To assist in practicing consistent procedures, the manual should contain:
- Information on surveillance
- Policies on dealing with communicable diseases in both staff and children
- Procedures to manage an outbreak
To ensure consistency, one person should be designated in charge of infection control at your child care facility. This individual should have the authority to complete the following functions:
Surveillance, control and prevention
- Develop and maintain a system of identifying, recording and reporting
- Identify and investigate outbreaks and infections
- Promote primary prevention and control measures
- Develop and maintain infection control policies and procedures
- Consult with child care workers, parents and health professionals
- Consult and liaise with Southwestern Public Health
No matter how careful you are, there will be some infectious illnesses at your child care facility. Be prepared to deal with it when it occurs and make sure parents are award of your policies before they register their children at your facility.