UNBC Childcare's health policies are based on the following criteria:
- Preventive public health care practices
- The comfort and safety of the child who is sick
- The staff's ability to look after a sick child
- The protection of other children, staff, students, and parents from communicable diseases and conditions.
Preventive Health Practices of the Centres
Hand washing is considered the single most important procedure for preventing the spread of illness. Please help your child wash their hands upon their arrival at the centre. Washing should be conducted vigorously for 30 seconds or longer with warm water and soap.
The incidence of disease and infestation may be reduced by:
- Ensuring adequate circulation of fresh air
- Avoiding overcrowded conditions
- Arranging sleeping mats to avoid children breathing, coughing, sneezing in each other's faces
- Proper hand washing when arriving at the centre, before eating, after using a toilet, after playing outside and after handling pets.
- The use of Universal Precautions
- Use of a paper towel to turn off taps
- Modelling and teaching the proper way of covering coughs, blowing noses, and disposal of tissues
- Being familiar with conditions under which a child's health may be deemed to be at risk to him/her self or to others by participating in the program
- Being familiar with and by practicing all hygienic procedures (eg. disinfecting all toys, furniture regularly)
Since proper nutrition is directly linked to good health, UNBC Childcare centres shall provide snacks according to the Canada Food Guide. Food and drink provided to the children will be sufficient in quality and quantity to meet the developmental needs of the child with respect to the child’s age, number of hours in care, their food preferences and cultural background. Any therapeutic diets as prescribed by a health care professional will be followed. Staff will maintain a record of centre prepared snacks. Children will be supervised at all times while consuming food or drink. Food and drink will not be used as a form of reward or punishment, and children will never be forced to consume any food or drink.
UNBC Childcare Society believes in promoting autonomy and enjoyment of foods to promote lifelong healthy eating habits. All staff will model healthy eating habits by eating with the children, and making their own lunches according to Canada’s Food Guide and UNBC Childcare Society’s Health Policies.
Parents will provide lunches for their child and should contain a balance of food groups. Providing nutritious choices according to Canada’s Food Guide in lunches gives children the opportunity to make their own choices and to be empowered during mealtimes. Foods that are highly processed, or those that contain large amounts of sodium should be limited. Please stay away from sending items that contain refined sugars and high sugar content such as pop, juice “drinks’ or “cocktails”, cakes/cupcakes, “jello”, fruit rolls ups and chews, puddings, and chocolate foods . A small cold pack is needed to ensure the freshness of food until lunchtime.
Please note that popcorn, chips, grapes, carrots and wieners can be a choking hazard to children under the age of 36 months. Carrots, grapes, sausages, and grape tomatoes can be cut lengthwise in order to minimize this hazard.
UNBC Childcare Society believes in enjoyment of all foods in moderation, and from time to time will do cooking and baking activities with the children. In these cases, chocolate foods will be minimal, and alternative sweetening ingredients such as applesauce and honey may be used.
Sometimes children and their families may want to share a special snack or treat. On these occasions children will be encouraged to consume a healthy food choice first, and the treat will be offered to the group during afternoon snack (or as per staff discretion in the morning preschool programs). Treats offered will be inclusive to children who have diet restrictions, or an alternate will be offered. Parents of children with dietary restrictions are welcome to bring in items for such occasions. Feel free to ask a staff member about our handout listing alternatives to treats with high sugar content.
Immunizations help protect your child from disease. They also help reduce the spread of disease to others and prevent epidemics. Children who are in larger groups may be exposed to more illness. Please provide the centre with a copy of your child’s immunization records. If your child is not immunized, please specify that on the registration form.
There may be some minor side effects after immunizations. Possible side effects include:
- Redness, mild swelling or soreness at the injection site
- Slight fever
- Drowsiness, irritability
- Mild rash
- Joint pain
In order to ensure a child’s comfort and safety, parents are asked to notify their child’s caregiver of any immunizations. Staff will monitor the child and notify the parents should any of the above side effects occur. If the child does not appear well enough to participate in the regular program activities, alternate care arrangements will need to be made by the parent.
Unimmunized children may be excluded from the program during a period of communicability.
The Child who is Ill
Children in group care will occasionally get sick. They play very intimately, sharing toys and joys. Additional factors include: children at younger ages have lower immunity to illnesses, and children in group care have an increased exposure to illnesses because of the expanded numbers of people with whom they are in daily contact.
UNBC Childcare Society is committed to ensuring the wellness of all children and staff in the centre. If your child has any symptoms of communicable illness, please do not bring them to the centre. If you have symptoms of illness, but your child is well and you are sending them to the childcare centre, please find an alternate person to drop off and pick up your child.
If your child has any of the following symptoms, do not bring them to the centre;
- any cold or flu symptoms such as listlessness, runny nose or eyes, coughing and a sore throat
- difficulty in breathing - wheezing or coughing
- fever over 100F or 37.7 C
- infected skin or eyes
- pain-any complaints unexplained or undiagnosed pain
- an undiagnosed rash- a physician’s note is required to clear children with a rash as non-infectious
- headache and stiff neck
- diarrhea or loose stool, nausea, vomiting or abdominal cramps
- severe itching of body and scalp if caused by head or body lice or scabies
- known or suspected communicable diseases
In summary, a child must be kept at home or taken home if they are suffering from any of the above symptoms or if they are not well enough to participate in the regular programs of the facility. Ultimately, the care of a child who is ill is the parent’s responsibility.
The centres do not have extra staff to care for sick children. Children need to be symptom free without the aid of over the counter medications in order to be well enough to be at preschool/childcare and to avoid spreading illness to others, and must be able to participate in all aspects of the day including outdoor play.
Parents must notify UNBC Childcare Society within 24 hours of the diagnosis of a serious illness or communicable disease (e.g., measles, mumps, rubella or chickenpox) in their child or the exposure of their child to a serious illness or communicable disease in any member of their family.
A child need NOT be excluded if he or she:
- Has a chronic symptom or condition that has been diagnosed as non-infectious.
A child may return to the program after an illness:
- 24 hours after receiving an antibiotic, (to ensure the medication has had time to work, and to ensure that there are no adverse side effects to the medication). Please speak to your child’s caregiver.
- when the child is no longer contagious after a communicable disease as diagnosed by a physician (letter from the child’s physician is required).
- Being symptom free for 48 hours after gastrointestinal illness
- When the child is well enough to participate in the facility’s program and no longer has any of the symptoms for exclusion as previously listed
- The parent provides information on the care and recuperation of their child to staff
- After deemed safe to do so as per their physician and/or BC Centre for Disease Control guidelines
If a child becomes ill while in care:
- the child shall be made as comfortable as possible.
- the parent (or alternate, if parent is unavailable) shall be notified, and he/she must pick up the child as soon as possible
- Staff will complete a “Caregiver’s Report on Illness” form.
- Staff will follow up with any necessary additional cleaning measures where there is a suspected communicable illness
- Prescription medications will be given to the child at the parent's request if it has been prescribed by a physician and sufficiently labelled by a pharmacist (in its original packaging).
- Non-Prescription medications will be given to the child at the parent's request if the caregiver is in agreement and comfortable with it. A note from the doctor that includes the amount to be given and the duration of treatment may be required. The supervisor has the right to exclude a child from care if they feel that the child is not well enough to participate in the program.
In order for the staff to give any medication to a child, the parent must record the following information on the Permission to Administer Medications form:
- the name of the medication
- the date and time the medication is to be given
- the amount of medication to be given
- sign the permission form
The staff will follow the parent's instructions as recorded on the Medications Form, will sign their name when medication is given, and will record any unusual side effects of the medication.
All medication needs to be handed to a staff member who will then place it in a secured area.
Any child who is injured or in need of emergency medical care shall be treated by the following procedures:
- first aid procedures necessary to sustain life will be administered.
- for minor or superficial injuries, first aid will be applied.
- for serious injuries, or if the staff is in doubt:
- staff will call 911 and request an ambulance. (permission for transport is on the registration form)
Staff may accompany the child in the ambulance where possible. Careful note should be made of all circumstances and factors pertinent to the accident and a serious incident report filed. UNBC Security will be notified if we call an ambulance to the Centre.
All minor injuries will also be documented by staff, and verbally communicated to the parent(s)/guardian(s).
*If a child has a medical condition and/or treatment procedures, the manager will request that a UNBC Security Medical Information Record form is completed by the parent/guardian.* Where a child has exceptional care needs and/or Nursing Support Needs, an Individual Care Plan must be in place before the child attends.
In case of children needing to be transported to the hospital or for the possibility of Emergency Evacuation, we ask for each family to send a Comfort Kit for each enrolled child. (See program handbook.)
Outdoor/Active Play Policy
UNBC Childcare believes that outdoor play is an important part of overall health. We go outside in all kinds of weather, so please provide your child with weather appropriate outdoor gear.
Our programs will also offer opportunities for gross motor play when indoors as well such as climbing, jumping, dancing, songs which involve movement and large muscle movement, stretching and balancing. Active play assists in developing muscle tone, balance, coordination and can help improve concentration and cognitive skills. Preschool programs will offer a minimum of 30 minutes of active play, and day-care programs will incorporate physical movement and active play in the daily routines for a minimum of 180 minutes spread throughout the day, with 60 minutes of that time being outdoor play as weather allows.
UNBC Childcare does not offer screen time (TV, computer, electronic games) as part of regular programming to children in care. On very infrequent occasions, screen time may be offered for preschool aged children for up to 30 minutes and if it is offered it will be learning outcome-focused.
Cold/Extreme Weather Policy
If the temperature falls below -20 Celsius, the children will play inside to prevent frostbite or windburn. From time to time it may be very cold in the winter months. UNBC Childcare will remain open as long as the University is open and all utilities at the centre are operational. If it is colder than -35 Celsius, parents may send their child to the centre at their own discretion.
In the event that UNBC closes due to extreme weather conditions, UNBC Childcare Society will also be closed. Fees will not be reduced for these closures.
- Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes prior to exposure
- Wear hats and sunglasses (Children and adults)
- Avoid sun exposure during peak heat times, 10 am to 4 pm
- Play in shady areas
- Have water readily available
If a child or staff member becomes ill with a highly communicable illness (i.e. Norovirus) while at the centre, the following procedure will be followed:
- Staff will use universal precautions and a careful cleaning procedure. Surfaces that have been contaminated with vomit or feces will be cleaned immediately with detergent and hot water and disinfected using a bleach and water solution of 1:50. The person who is ill must be sent home immediately.
- If there is 3 or more case of suspect gastrointestinal illness within a four-day period, the Manager or Designate will contact Community Care Facility Licensing and a Serious Incident Report will be filed.
- Cleaning and Sanitizing to include common touch surfaces such as door handles, handrails, chair arms, and light switches.
- Any further steps recommended by Northern Health and/or BC Centre for Disease Control will be followed.
- Notification will be posted for parents on classroom whiteboards. Parents will be provided with written information about the illness and instructions on what to do if their child becomes ill.
In the event that the centre needs to be closed for cleaning, staff members will bag all of each child’s belongings for parents to launder at home. All laundry should be done with a strong bleach and water solution of 1:10. Staff will remove all materials from hard surfaces and bag them in order to have surfaces clear for the cleaning staff to disinfect. The centre will re-open when cleaning has been completed and the Licensing Officer/Northern Health and Society Board deem that it is safe to do so. Childcare fees will not be reduced for closures due to illness.
In the event of a pandemic, UNBC Childcare Society will follow the Pandemic Plan and guidelines as described at www.unbc.ca . (as amended May 2020.)