Dealing with Allergic Reactions in Child Care

Food allergies are relatively common among children in child care programs. To keep everyone in the child care facility safe and healthy, child care providers must be informed about allergies and be prepared to deal with allergic reactions. Many allergic reactions are minor, but some reactions can be dangerous or even life-threatening, depending on the response of the individual’s immune system. To avoid as many allergic reactions as possible, child care providers should prepare, plan, and know children’s history of …

Creating Safe and Appropriate Napping Areas in Child Care

Napping is an important routine in child care. Most children in infant, toddler, and preschool programs will take regular naps while they are in child care. Setting up comfortable, predictable spaces for napping helps children relax and get the rest they need. The needs of napping children are different depending on age. Child care providers should set up napping areas to best meet the needs of the children in the classroom, based on the layout of the child care space. …

Using Hand Washing Songs to Encourage Children in Child Care to Wash Hands Thoroughly

Girl washing hands

Hand washing is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of germs in child care. When washing hands, it is important to scrub for a full 20 seconds. Many children forget to wash their hands for this long. Teaching children in a child care setting to sing a “hand washing song” while they wash is a good way to help them measure if they have been scrubbing long enough. 

The following are a few examples of hand …

Hand Washing Tips for Child Care Providers

adult washing hands

Washing your hands and the children’s hands, or encouraging them to wash their hands, is one of the best ways to reduce the spread of disease. Child care providers should be washing their hands many times throughout the day.

When Child Care Providers Should Wash Their Hands

Some of the key times to wash your hands include:

  • upon arrival at the child care program
  • before preparing, serving, or eating food
  • before and after giving medication
  • after eating
  • after using the

Guidelines for Applying Sunscreen in a Child Care Program


Sunscreen is important to protect young children because they are very susceptible to sunburn. Yet applying sunscreen to children in a child care program requires thought and careful planning. Sunscreen is considered a non-prescription medication and should be administered only if the parents give written consent. The following are some guidelines related to using sunscreen in child care.

As with all other medications, parents must provide written permission for child care providers to apply sunscreen to their child. Strongly encourage …

Bathroom Safety in Child Care

Child-sized sinks

As children begin to use the toilet, bathroom safety becomes especially important. Because there are many potential safety hazards in the bathroom, child care providers need to supervise bathroom use carefully. As children reach the preschool years and beyond, child care providers can also help children stay safe in the bathroom by teaching them how to identify and avoid risks.

Supervision Is Key

Most toddlers and preschoolers are not developmentally ready to be left in the bathroom alone because they …

What foods are unsafe to feed toddlers in my child care program?

Avoid serving foods that may choke a young toddler. Only foods that are soft or will soften in the mouth should be served. Avoid raw carrots, nuts, popcorn, unpeeled fruits and vegetables, hard candies, pickles, hot dogs. Other examples of foods that can cause choking in children under the age of 4 include apple wedges, apple rings, bell pepper slices, cherries, celery sticks, cucumber slices, and grapes.

Children should sit when eating and should not be allowed to eat while …

How can I plan good woodworking activities for 3- to 5-year-olds in a child care program? How can I be sure woodworking is safe for young children?

By age three, most children can learn how to use some basic hand tools, such as hammers, saws, and hand drills. Most young children can understand safety rules, but they need close adult supervision to help them remember to follow them.
Good woodworking activities for 3- to 5-year-olds involve using woodworking tools to cut, hammer, and drill wood. Try giving the children short roofing nails with large heads to hammer into an old tree stump. Children also enjoy sanding wood. …

Preventing the Spread of Germs During Toileting

Cleaning supplies

Learning to use the toilet is an exciting process for young children. Child care providers can make toilet learning smoother and prevent the spread of germs from one child to another by remembering these basic toilet learning “dos.”

  • Consider a potty attachment instead of a potty chair. A potty attachment has a smaller seat that snaps on to the regular toilet. Attachments are more sanitary than potty chairs. Remove urine deflectors because they can cut the child.
  • Clean and disinfect

Choosing, Introducing, and Caring for Pets in Child Care

Pet in cage in child care

Having a pet to talk to and touch can be a great benefit to children in child care, especially shy youngsters. Children can learn responsibility by caring for a pet and may enjoy watching animals play and eat. Having a pet in your child care program takes thought and planning. Before you go out and buy a snake or a rabbit, be ready to ensure children are safe and healthy around the pet and the pet is treated gently and …