Welcome to the first issue of the Health and Safety E-News. This electronic newsletter is provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics Child Care and Health Partnership program to offer child care providers information on evidence-based practices that promote the health and safety of children in child care.
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This issue includes information and action steps for you on the following topics:
Reducing the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Despite recent advances, the number of babies who die from SIDS in child care
settings is higher than it should be. Below are 5 practical steps you can take
today to make sure the infants you care for are as safe as possible.
- Place healthy babies to sleep on their backs for every sleep. Do not put babies to sleep on their sides, as it is not as safe and is not recommended.
- Place each baby in his/her own safety-approved crib with a firm mattress and a well-fitting sheet. Do not allow babies to share cribs. Do not put toys and other soft-bedding (blankets, comforters, pillows, stuffed animals, or wedges) in the crib with the baby. If bumper pads are used in cribs, they should be thin, firm, well-secured, and not "pillow-like".
- Avoid letting the baby get too hot. Set the room temperature at a level that is
comfortable for a lightly-clothed adult, and dress the baby lightly for sleep.
Do not cover the heads of babies or over bundle them in clothing and blankets.
- Loose bedding such as blankets and sheets may be hazardous. If a blanket is used, make sure it is tucked in around the crib mattress so that the infant's face is less likely to be covered up by the blanket. One strategy is to place the baby so the feet can touch the end of the crib and tuck the blanket around the end of the mattress so that the blanket only reaches the level of the infant's chest (this is called the "feet to foot" rule). Another strategy is to use sleep clothing with no other covering over the infant.
- Tell each baby's parent or guardian that you use these "safe sleep practices" as recommended by the AAP. Place babies to sleep wholly on their backs, even if the parent asks you to do something different. If a baby has a special health condition and something different is recommended, require a signed note from the child's pediatrician stating what is recommended for this baby and why.
Connecting Families to Community Resources
All children and families should have a doctor or other health professional who
can make sure they receive comprehensive primary health care. The AAP calls this
having a "medical home". Below are 5 practical steps you can take today to support the medical home concept and help families get the services they need.
- When enrollment forms are filled out or updated, ask parents to describe where their child receives their health services. Usually this is a doctor, but it could be a community clinic or public health department. Asking for this information is good because it reminds the family that having a health care provider (and preventive health services) is important.
- Ask parents to provide you with a note that gives you permission to talk with their child's doctor or health professional. Explain that sometimes it could be important for you to be able to talk directly to this person, and tell them that you will let them know before you contact anyone (except in the case of an emergency). Ask parents to inform their child's health professional about their child's participation in your program and the need to share information that will enable your child's caregivers to give good care.
- If a family needs help finding health services or health insurance, help by giving the family a list of community resources.
- Request and keep on file a health report (or form) completed and signed by the child's health care provider. The report should include a record of the child's preventive health services, including immunizations and screening tests, as well as other medical and developmental information recommended by the AAP. The information should be updated each time the child receives some well-child services.
- Develop a relationship with a child care health consultant who can help you develop policies and practices to improve the health and safety of the children you care for.
For resources on SIDS and Community Resources, visit the Resource Library.