Health Resources in the College and Community
The Vancouver-Richmond Health Board provides us with the ongoing services of health care professionals. Our community health nurse visits on a regular basis and makes referrals to the speech and language pathologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, audiologist, dental hygienist and dentist as needed. We also consult the doctor and nurse from Langara Health Services in case of emergency or medical concerns.
Family and Staff Responsibilities
Every effort is made to ensure the health and safety of both children and adults in the centre.
- Families should inform the staff of any concerns about their child's allergies or health (see Exceptional Health Care Needs).
- Families should make sure that their child has all inoculations up-to-date before starting at the day care centre. This is for the child's protection.
- Children will not be admitted to the Centre if they are ill. A child needs to be well enough to participate in all the daily activities, both indoors and outdoors. The Centre does not have the facilities for the care of sick children. For this reason families will require alternate care, someone who will care for their child in case of illness. We will require the names and telephone numbers of families' alternate care upon admission.
- If a child contracts a communicable disease, the family is asked to notify the Centre so that other families can be informed.
- If a child becomes ill at the Centre or has an injury, the staff will contact the family to take the child home. If the child is seriously ill or injured and the parent is unavailable, the child will be taken to the College's Health Services, a hospital Emergency Department or to the child's family doctor. An ambulance will be called if necessary.
- We will only give children medication that has been prescribed by a physician. Families are asked to fill in the medication form, note the medication, dosage and instructions on the medication chart on the fridge door and give the medication directly to a staff member. Families should not put any medicines in childrens' cubbies.
- Because we use the outdoors every day, rain or shine, families must provide appropriate clothing for all weather conditions.
If a child has exceptional health care needs we will require a health assessment from a physician or other health care professional. Then we will need to develop a Health Care Plan that outlines the health care that the child needs while at the day care, such as dietary restrictions, a medication schedule, health procedures, precautions, emergency warning signs and emergency procedures.
The Health Care Plan must be developed by a health care professional in collaboration with the family. Staff training related to the Plan must also be given by a health care professional. The Health Care Plan and staff training must be completed before the child can attend the day care. If there are any changes in the health of the child and the health care needed, both the Plan and staff training must be updated. The child may not be able to attend the day care until the updated Health Care Plan and staff training are completed.
If the child is medically fragile and his/her health care requires close monitoring and assessments or medical judgments to be made, then nursing support will need to be provided while the child is at day care.
There is a rest time every afternoon for all children. This gives them the opportunity to nap or relax and unwind after a stimulating morning.
The day care provides a sheet and blanket for rest time. If a child has a special blanket, pillow or nap toy, parents can send them to day care. We cannot, however, be responsible for lost articles from home, although we do our best to keep track of children's special things.
Toilet-training is a natural step in a child's development. Children generally indicate their readiness for toilet-training in a variety of ways. Our approach is to follow the child and family's lead. Toilet- training usually begins at home and is supported at the day care through a consistent toileting schedule.
In the Toddler Program the toileting routine is individualized. Children are frequently offered the use of child-sized toilets but they are not pressured.
By the time children start at the three-to-five-year-old program, most of them are toilet-trained or well on their way. Those who are not yet toilet-trained by three years old usually learn this skill quickly as they observe their toilet-trained peers.
Clothing and Diapers
If a child is in diapers, families must make sure that there is an adequate supply of diapers and wipes every day as well as the diaper cream ordinarily used, clearly labeled with the child's name.
Families are asked to send two complete changes of clothing for three-to-five-year-old children and three complete changes of clothing for toddlers. All clothing should be clearly labelled with the child's name, so that it can be identified. Families should ensure that their child wears appropriate clothes for the weather conditions each day.
Families should provide slippers or runners, clearly labeled with the child's name, that can be left at the day care.
Wet or soiled clothing will be bagged and put into the child's cubby for families to take home and launder. This results in less loss of clothing.
We cannot be responsible for any lost articles of clothing.
In case of a major emergency such as fire or earthquake, we must be prepared to respond appropriately. Our emergency preparedness procedures include doing fire and earthquake drills with the children, practicing our emergency evacuation procedure and storing emergency supplies.
If we have to evacuate the day care building in case of fire or earthquake, all the day care groups will meet at our designated meeting spot, which is located at the entrance to the path that encircles the golf course, south of the campus, beside the B building.
If, due to an earthquake, we are unable to reenter the building for an extended period, we will walk to the closest Emergency Response Centre, which is located at the Sunset Community Centre on 51st Avenue at the corner of Prince Edward (one block east of Main Street).
If we go to any place other than the day care centre or the alternate location, parents can reach staff by calling the cellphone number that will be posted on the front door. If possible, a staff member will return to the day care area to direct parents to their children.
In our emergency preparations we also ask parents to send the following provisions for each child. These provisions will supplement day care supplies in case of an earthquake. In the large Ziplock bag provided by the day care, please include:
- Small flashlight with batteries.
- Emergency aluminized polyester blanket (Canadian Tire).
- A few Band-aids.
- 3 non-perishable food items (e.g. cereal bar, power bar). CAUTION: NO NUTS!
- A small comfort toy.
- A small favourite book.
- A picture of the family.
- A comfort note.
- A small package of baby wipes.
- A small bottle of water.
- Emergency Consent Card.
In the event that a major emergency occurs, we ask parents to come and pick up their children immediately at the day care centre, the designated meeting area, or at the alternate location.
We provide nutritious morning and afternoon snacks in all our programs. They include fresh fruit and vegetables, crackers, whole grain breads, muffins, cheese, tuna and salmon.
Families provide lunches for their children. We provide milk or juice at lunch time.
Some lunch ideas are: finger foods, sandwiches, soup, fruit and vegetables, whole grain breads, muffins, cheese, meat, yogurt. We ask families not to send sweets, "junk food" or food that might cause your child to choke.
Families of toddlers are asked not to send nuts, popcorn, potato chips, raw carrots, grapes or hot dogs as they sometimes cause choking in children under three. Even if a child can manage these foods safely, it is not unusual for children to take food items from other children's plates.
We ask families to send lunch in a lunch bag or box. If something is sent that that should be warm, it should be in an unbreakable thermos bottle. If something perishable is sent that should be kept cold, a small ice pack should be included in the lunch bag as space in the day care fridge is limited. Families are asked to send bottles and sipping cups if their child uses them. All lunch boxes, thermoses, containers, juice cups and bottles must be clearly labeled with the child's name.
Custody and Access
The day care staff cannot become involved in the marital or custody issues of our families. Our professional role requires that we stay completely impartial as we often work closely with both sets of separated parents. If a parent is divorced, separated or going through custody negotiations, day care staff must be informed of the relevant custody and parental access details. If there are any restrictions on parental access such as no visits or no pick-ups, we will require official documentation to that effect, such as a court order or a restraining order. Without proper documentation, we cannot deny a parent access to their child. The day care staff will only be accountable to the enrolling parent, who will provide the day care with all relevant information and documentation.
The day care centre has secured entrances that restrict access to people who do not have the security code. This helps us bar any unauthorized visitors. Nonetheless we do have the following policies related to unauthorized parents:
- If an unauthorized parent comes to visit or pick up their child, we will request that he/she leave. In case of difficulty we will call Langara Security Services and have the parent accompanied away from the day care.
- If an unauthorized parent forcibly takes his or her child, we will not attempt to physically restrain him/her. Rather, we will release the child, call 911 and the other parent immediately. The reason for this policy is that we cannot risk children and staff safety by a physical confrontation.
The Child, Family and Community Services Act states that all children in the province of British Columbia "are entitled to be protected from abuse, neglect, harm or threat of harm." The Act also states that any person who has reason to believe that a child needs protection must promptly report the matter to the Ministry of Children and Family Development. The day care staff are legally required to report any suspicion of physical or sexual abuse or neglect of the children in our program. Failure to report such suspicions is an offense.
If families need any help or information about parenting or community resources, day care staff are happy to assist.
Children in child care programs are grouped together at the ages when they are most susceptible to infections. To determine what is a significant illness in a child is difficult for both parents and staff. There are three important issues in determining when a child is too ill to attend a child care program.
- The protection of other children from communicable disease.
- The comfort and safety of the child who is ill.
- The capacity of the program staff to look after an ill child.
With these issues in mind the following guidelines are given:
- Any child too ill to participate in normal activities of the day care should be excluded.*
- Children with upper respiratory infection but no fever need not be excluded for the protection of other children. Respiratory viruses are so common that it does not make sense to single out for exclusion those who exhibit minimal symptoms.*
- Children on antibiotics who don’t have a fever and are otherwise well, need not be excluded.*
- Children with suspected or known measles, mumps, rubella or chickenpox should be excluded until non-infectious. Children with generalized rash and fever are suspect of having measles and should be excluded pending diagnosis.*
- In addition to the illnesses mentioned (4), there may be other less common communicable diseases which would necessitate exclusion for a period of time. In the case of diagnosed communicable diseases, the child care should advise the Public Health Nurse at the local health unit.*
- Children with a chronic symptom such as persistent cough or persistent fever warrant medical evaluation. Once appropriate medical evaluation is obtained, they need not be excluded from the child care program unless they fall under the terms of 1), 4), or 5) above.*
- Whenever a child attending a child care program develops new symptoms of illness (whether mentioned above or not) or has worsening of symptoms, the parent should be notified to take the child home.*
- Children with gastro-intestinal problems (i.e. vomiting, diarrhea) should be excluded from the program.*
Trumpp, C.E., Karasic R: Management of Communicable Disease in Day Care Centres. Pediatric Annals 12:3, Pages 219-229.