Children in child care may be more susceptible to sharing illnesses because they spend so much time together. Immunizing children is a simple step that prevents the spread of potentially serious illnesses in the child care program. Be sure all children receive their immunizations on schedule to protect everyone’s health.
Immunization Requirements in Child Care
Most child care programs require that children be up-to-date on all immunizations. Parents who are enrolling their children in a child care program for the first time may have to supply a copy of each child’s immunization records. Child care directors and family child care providers keep those records in each child’s file to ensure that all children in the program are properly protected from diseases. Parents are responsible for keeping their child’s record updated. Many child care programs request updated immunization records from parents once a year in order to be sure the information is current.
Types of Immunizations
The following are some of the diseases for which routine immunizations are available. Each immunization has its own schedule. Most immunizations require more than one dose to be effective.
- Pertussis (whooping cough)
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
- Rubella (German measles)
- Varicella (chicken pox)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
When to Immunize
Parents are responsible for ensuring that their children are immunized. They should talk to their child’s pediatrician to find out when they need to begin immunizations. If their child has missed some regular immunizations, the pediatrician can help the parents plan a catch-up schedule. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an Instant Childhood Immunization Scheduler that can send email reminders to parents when their children are due for specific immunizations.
Child care providers and directors can help protect the health of all children in their care by checking immunization records periodically to be sure children are up-to-date. Keep the CDC’s pocket-size schedule handy, and remind parents if you see that their child is overdue for an immunization.
For More Information
To learn more about ways to prevent illness in child care, take a look at the following eXtension Alliance for Better Child Care articles:
- Handwashing in Child Care
- Keeping Things Clean in Child Care
- Guidelines for Excluding Sick Children from Child Care
- Preventing the Spread of Germs During Toileting
- Tips to Prevent Spreading Germs During Diapering