Program Health Policies

Your center's health policy should address the following:

Communicable Diseases

Parents should inform the center right away if their child contracts any serious communicable disease. The program director should notify all of the families in the program in writing, alerting them to symptoms and precautions. Your health policy should state how long a child with a communicable disease must stay out of child care, and should list restrictions on when a child can return to care (e.g., after three days on an antibiotic, or after the child's physician signs a note stating that the child is no longer contagious).

Daily Health and Illness

Each child's file should contain the name and telephone numbers of the person(s) to contact should the child become ill. Policy should dictate when children need to be sent home due to a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. Any ill child should be removed from the group and be given a quiet place to rest until she goes home. Program health policies should state when children need to be kept out of care and when they can return. Consult a health care consultant or pediatrician for guidance in formulating a medication dispensation policy.

Staff Health

Each staff member must have an annual physical exam and comply with the program's health policies regarding illness and communicable diseases. Staff must have required immunizations and vaccinations, as well.

Hand Washing

Proper handwashing practices are very important for prevention of disease in child care programs. Staff will need to wash their hands frequently with soap and running water. Children should be supervised to ensure they wash hands after toileting or nose wiping, and before eating or handling food. Children and staff should use liquid soap from a dispenser, and use paper towels (not cloth) to avoid passing germs.

Times to wash hands:

  • After wiping a child's nose, eyes, or mouth; after contact with any bodily fluids, such as blood or saliva (your own or others')
  • After changing a child's diaper or soiled clothing, or assisting a child with toileting, or applying any salves or ointments to a child's skin
  • After blowing your own nose or using the toilet
  • Before handling food, preparing or serving a meal or snack, or administering medications
  • After handling animals or birds
  • After playing or working outdoors
  • After handling any toxins, such as household cleansers

Page last updated: Aug 26, 2013