Introduction

Ensuring the health and safety of children, and staff, and supporting children’s ongoing wellbeing, is a core focus of the delivery of a preschool service. Educators in preschools need to be aware of the likelihood of young children being exposed to an infectious illness whilst in their care. Maintaining hygiene practices within the preschool and teaching young children about health and hygiene will assist in the prevention of infectious diseases. Providing families with timely and current information will further support this process.

Goals

Children’s exposure to infectious diseases will be minimised by:

  • our preschool following all recommended guidelines from relevant authorities regarding the prevention of infectious diseases;
  • promotion of practices that reduce the transmission of infection;
  • the exclusion of sick children and staff;
  • preschool support for child immunisation; and
  • implementation of effective hand washing procedures.

Strategies

The Approved Provider will:

  • Ensure that all information regarding the prevention of infectious diseases is sourced from a recognised health authority, such as: Staying Healthy in Child Care – Preventing Infectious Diseases in Child Care (5th edition), National Health and Medical Research Council (2006), and the NSW Ministry of Health, or NSW public hospitals websites;
  • Implement the recommendations from Staying Healthy in Child Care – Preventing Infectious Diseases in Child Careto prevent the spread of infectious diseases at the preschool;
  • Ensure that children are reasonably protected from harm by working with the Nominated Supervisor and Educators on developing, implementing and reviewing policy that will guide health and safety procedures within the preschool; and
  • Collect, maintain, and store appropriately the required enrolment documents and enrolment information of children in the preschool.The Nominated Supervisor will:
  • Develop procedures for:

– Maintaining a hygienic environment;

– Providing families with relevant infectious diseases, health and hygiene information;

– Guiding children’s understanding of health and hygiene throughout the daily program;

– Ensuring staff are aware of relevant immunisation guidelines for children and themselves; and

– Maintaining relevant records regarding the current status of the immunisation of staff and children at the preschool, as well as any relevant medical conditions of children enrolled.

  • Develop an enrolment procedure that captures all required information regarding the children’s immunisation status, and any medical conditions.
  • Provide relevant sourced materials to families about:

– the current NSW Immunisation Schedule for children;

– exclusion guidelines for children that are not immunised or have not yet received all of      their immunisations in the event of an infectious illness at the preschool, upon enrolment at the preschool;

– advice and information regarding any infectious diseases in general, and information regarding any specific infectious illnesses that are suspected/present in the preschool; and

  • Provide information to families as soon as practicable of the occurrence of an infectious disease that describe the:
    • nature of illness;
    • incubation period; and infectious and exclusion period

This information will be sourced from a reliable source such as, Staying Healthy in Childcare – Preventing Infectious Diseases in Child Care (4th 5th Ed), National Health and Medical Research Council (2006).

  • Ensure that an “Incident, Injury, Trauma and Illness” record is completed as soon as practicable or no later than 24 hours of the illness occurring;
  • Ensure that processes are in place so that all educators are aware of individual children’s circumstances;
  • Maintain confidentiality with regards to children’s individual medical circumstances, by putting procedures in place to safeguard children and families personal information;
  • Devise a routine written process for updating children’s enrolment records with regards to immunisation, ensuring that this occurs as required, (i.e. as children reach age milestones for immunisation), or at least twice a year;
  • Advise staff of the recommended immunisations for people working with children as per the Immunisation Handbook – 10th Edition (2013);
  • Maintain current records of staff immunisation status and ensuring educators familiarity with written procedures for exclusion of educators as well as children in the event of an infectious illness;
  • Provide opportunities for educators to source relevant up to date information on the prevention of infectious diseases, and maintain health and hygiene from trusted sources;
  • Ensure opportunities for educators and families to be involved in the review of the policies and procedures regarding children’s health and safety; and
  • Inform and implement the advice of the health department, or local health unit regarding Infectious Diseases as required.Educators will:
  • Ensure that any children that are suspected of having an infectious Illness are responded to and their health and emotional needs supported at all times;
  • Implement appropriate health and safety procedures, when tending to ill children;
  • Take into consideration the grouping of children to reduce the risk of acquiring an infectious illness when planning the routines/program of the day
  • Ensure that families are aware of the need to collect their children as soon as practicable to ensure the child’s comfort;
  • Advise families that they will need to alert the preschool if their child is diagnosed with an infectious illness;
  • Maintain their own immunisation status, and advise the Approved Provider/Nominated Supervisor of any updates to their immunisation status;
  • Provide varied opportunities for children to engage in hygiene practices, including routine opportunities, and intentional practice;
  • Implement the preschools’ health and hygiene policy including:

– hand washing – washing and drying thoroughly,

– routine and daily cleaning of the preschool;

– nappy changing procedures;

– wearing gloves (particularly when in direct contact with bodily fluids); and

– proper handling and preparation of food.

  • Provide opportunities for staff, children and families to have access to health professionals by organising visits/guest speakers to attend the preschool to ensure that practices in place at the preschool are correct and current; and
  • Maintain currency with regard to Health and Safety by attending appropriate professional development opportunities.Families will:
  • Advise the preschool of their child’s immunisation status, and provide written documentation in the form of the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) Immunisation History Statement for the preschool to copy and keep with the child’s enrolment records;
  • Advise the preschool when their child’s immunisation/medical condition is updated and provide this information to the preschool to ensure that enrolment records are up to date;
  • Keep their child at home when they are ill, so as not to increase the likelihood of illness or infectious diseases being spread at preschool;
  • Inform the preschool that their child will not be in attendance on any day due to illness and the nature of that illness;
  • Have the opportunity to provide input into the review and effectiveness of policies and procedures of the preschool via various methods.

Evaluation

Infection control is effectively managed at the preschool to ensure children remain healthy and transmission of infectious diseases are minimised.

Sources

  • Guide to the National Quality Standard (3) ACECQA (2011)
  • Guide to the Education and Care Services National Law and the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011
  • EYLF – Belonging Being Becoming (2009)
  • Health and Safety in Children’s Services Model Policies and Practices – 2nd Edition revised (2003)
  • Staying Healthy in Child Care – Preventing Infectious Diseases in Child Care – 5th Edition (2012)
  • NSW Ministry of Health: www.health.nsw.gov.au/
  • National Health and Medical Research Council: www.nhmrc.gov.au/
  • Immunisation Handbook –10th Edition (2013) Australian Government – Department of Health and Ageing – National Health and Medical Research Council
  • Guide to the Education and Care Services National Law and the Education and Care Services National Regulations (3) (2011)

Statutory Legislation & Considerations

  • Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010
  • Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011