Health and Wellbeing at the ELC

By Amanda Bertschinger,

  Filed under: ELC

With the recent headlines of influenza afflicting the community, I would like to share some brief messages regarding children’s health while they are at the ELC, remembering that we aim to provide a healthy and safe environment for children’s learning where the children can be safe and secure.

Parents with sick children are asked not to bring them to the ELC, as this always has a flow on effect for others. We ask that families maintain a focus not only on the wellbeing of their own child, but also upon the wellbeing of other children and of other adults in the centre. Although it can be difficult for working families to care for ill children, in the interests of all children’s health, if your child becomes unwell, please make alternative arrangements for their care.

If we suspect that your child is unwell or coming down with something, we will give you a call to collect your child. This enables you to provide the personal care that 3 and 4 year old children deserve, as they are often distressed and just want to go home with mum and dad.

If you suspect that your child may have an infectious disease, please notify us immediately. We can then share medical information anonymously with other families to ensure they are aware and that they can be alert for symptoms. There are also staff, children and parents who may be particularly susceptible from time to time. Children in care come into contact with many other children and adults and in their busy lives, they may contract infectious illnesses. Quality Assurance standards require child care services to minimise the spread of infectious illnesses.

While at school, we encourage the children to wash their hands thoroughly before eating, after using the bathroom and after messy play. Starting in ELC3, we discuss how to use the soap pump, how to turn the taps on and off while not wasting water and to dry their hands, as well placing used paper towels in the bin. Children are reminded to use tissues appropriately and to dispose of them in the bin as well. We also encourage children to turn their heads while coughing into their elbow. Can you please help us by reminding your children of these simple steps.

Often when ELC staff assist your child with an injury or when requiring help in the toilet, we wear disposable gloves. The children often ask what they are and why are we wearing them. This is something new to children who have been in their own family environment and it might seem a bit scary for some children, but a brief explanation of not sharing germs quickly puts them at ease.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) provides child care services with guidelines for children’s Health while in care. The document is called Staying Healthy – Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services (updated June 2013).

Please follow the link below to find more detailed information.

https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/reports/clinical%20guidelines/ch55-staying-healthy.pdf

If you and your family are about to have a flu injection, the following points from the Guidelines may be of interest to you.

Managing symptoms after immunisation

Vaccinations can cause several common side effects. These are usually mild and do not last long; treatment is not usually necessary.

Managing injection site discomfort

Many vaccine injections can cause soreness, redness, itching, swelling or burning at the injection site for 1–2 days. Paracetamol can ease this discomfort. Sometimes a small, hard lump may persist for weeks or months—this should not cause concern and does not need treatment.

Managing fever after immunisation

If a child develops a fever after a vaccination, give them extra fluids to drink and do not overdress them if they are hot. It is not necessary to routinely give children paracetamol at the time of vaccination, but it may be needed if a child has a high fever after being vaccinated. Follow the instructions on the label carefully.

Gay Illingworth

ELC Director