What does your day care know about swine flu (H1N1 flu) and what measures are they urged to follow? The Centers for Disease Control have recently issued updated guidelines to day cares on how to combat the spread of this virus.
Here’s what your day care should have been told:
1. Encourage all staff to get vaccinated.
2. Make sure children’s and staff’s hands are washed often with soap and water, and especially after children cough or sneeze. Keep alcohol-based hand cleaner nearby if a sink isn’t readily available.
3. Remind children and staff not to touch their eyes, nose or mouth as germs are often spread this way.
4. Clean the environment regularly. Dirty areas and items should be cleaned immediately, especially play areas and toys.
5. Day care staffers deemed to be high risk for flu complications and parents of children younger than age 5 who become ill with flu-like symptoms should call their doctor immediately to see if they are in need of antiviral treatment.
6. If a swine flu outbreak is severe, staff should consider closing the day care center to decrease the spread of infection. A decision to close should be made in conjunction with local public health officials.
7. Remind staff to stay home and parents to keep a sick child at home when they have flu-like symptoms. Send sick staff home immediately. If a child become ill at the day care, move them to a separate, but supervised, area until a parent can pick them up.
If an outbreak becomes more severe or symptoms more dangerous as the fall and winter season approach, the following guidelines should also be considered:
1. Let high-risk staffers stay at home.
2. Increase the distance between children; separate children into small groups of six or less.
3. Have children stay home if there are others in the child’s household who have the swine flu.
4. Inform parents of sick children and sick staff members that they should say home for at least 7 days.
5. Close the day care center either as a reaction to the outbreak or even as a preventative measure.
For more information about swine flu, go to http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/.
Here’s to hoping we and our children stay healthy this flu season.
I had the great opportunity last week to go to a class sponsored by the Oklahoma City-County Health Department at the Edmond Library, called ”Common Challenges with Toddlers.”
As a parent of a toddler, I knew I couldn’t possibly be the only one who experiences the store -induced temper tantrums, the difficulties with getting him to eat, and dealing with this little person who is constantly asserting his independence.
I was greatly assured that yes, thankfully, my child is completely normal and not a pint-sized T-Rex.
Here are seven great tips I learned:
1. Don’t ask questions that require simply a yes or no answer. Instead, give your toddler some choices. But be sure you can live with any of the choices.
2. Avoid power struggles. It takes two to argue, so take yourself out of the equation. Consider allowing him to be his own boss, unless he poses harm to himself or others.
3. Children won’t do what doesn’t work. Ignore temper tantrums. Easier said than done, but if you want the tantrums to stop, you’ll have to stop reacting to them.
4. Make a statement. When talking to him about his day, don’t ask questions, but instead make statements. I tried this and it works! Instead of “Did you play outside today?” try “So you played outside today!” You’ll get lots more response from your little person.
5. Use descriptive commentary. Like a sports announcer, talk about what they’re doing as they’re doing it. It promotes conversation, builds vocabulary and makes them feel important.
6. Focus on behaviors you want, not the ones you don’t want. Instead of “stop running” say “I like it when you walk next to Mommy.” And always be specific in your praise. Just saying “Good girl” won’t let them know what exactly they’re being good about.
7. Use humor, and keep your sense of humor. Your toddler is learning to be an independent person and it can be a fun time if you just let it happen.
The health department has a great lineup of workshops and parent talks. I highly recommend attending. Their staff is knowledgeable and they give great advice. Go to www.occhd.org and click on the Parent Express Newsletter or call 425-4412 to find out what’s coming to a location near you.
Oklahoma City-County Health Department’s Child Guidance program is offering FREE parenting sessions at the Edmond Library on Sept. 9. These are individual sessions lasting 30-45 minutes and will be conducted with a speech pathologist and child development specialist.
Discussions will allow for parenting questions in areas of speech, language, development and behavior. Children don’t need to be present but may attend.
Sessions are by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, call 425-4412. For more information about this program or others, call 427-8651 or go to www.cchdoc.com.
If so, a class at the Edmond Library Wednesday may be just the thing to help you.
Sponsored by the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, “Common Challenges with Toddlers” is a free program focusing on common issues of this age group, including temper tantrums, biting and trouble sharing. Parents will learn how to minimize their frustrations with these behaviors and learn solutions to help put an end to them.
The program is from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the library, 10 S. Boulevard.
If you want to enroll, call 425-4412. If you can’t go, no worries. I’ll be there taking very detailed notes and I’ll be sharing what I learn and posting it here.
My son is in the midst of a transition right now. He is getting ready to start a new day care and after talking to another provider, I learned that there is much information available about the place my son will be cared for.
I started my search for information at www.okdhs.org. From there, you can click on the ‘child care locator/summary of facility monitoring’ link and type in the name of the day care you want to know more about. But you’ll only see general information. It doesn’t cite specific complaints or violations.
So I called the local DHS office and found out that anyone can go take a look at a daycare’s complete file. Just call the DHS licensing division at 767-2650 at least 24 hours in advance so they can prepare the file for you, and you’ll be in the know.
Most of the information should also be available at the daycare itself. You can ask any provider to see their compliance folder and they are obligated to let you look through it. If they won’t let you or if they say they don’t have one, contact DHS and let them know.
You can never be too careful or thorough when it comes to your child’s daycare.
Oklahoma City Parks & Recreation Department has planned some FREE summer activities for kids. Here’s some fun you and your children can get in on:
FREE Kids’ Fishing Classes
For ages 5-15, these classes teach casting, knot-tying, fish identification, angler etiquette and fishing regulations. No license or permit required and equipment is provided. Children must be accompanied by parent or guardian.
July 25 – Dolese Youth Park Pond, NW 50 and Meridian
June 20, Aug. 22 – Crystal Lake, 6625 SW 15
July 11, Aug. 8 – Metro Tech Springlake, NW 36 and Springlake Drive
July 18, Aug. 15 – Edwards Park Lake
City Pools are now open and admission is free all summer. They include:
Northeast Pool, 1300 NE 33
Woodson Pool, 3405 S. May
Carson Pool, 8301 S. Villa
Minnis Lakeview Pool, 12518 NE 36.
Swim lessons are offered for kids and adults at all area pools for $20 per session. For more information about lessons, or to get a free parks & pools guide, call 297-2211.
Play in the Park
This annual program offers FREE supervised activities such as arts, crafts, games , reading and field trips for kids age 6 and older. 26 metro-wide locations have the program. Click here for more information.
Father’s Day Downtown
On Sunday, June 21, Dad gets in free (with a paid family member) to:
Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, 301 W. Reno
OKC Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City National Memorial, 620 N. Harvey.
So take Dad out on his special day and enjoy all downtown has to offer.
For more information about OKC Parks & Recreation’s events, go to http://www.okc.gov/Parks/index.html.
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor
It’s so easy to read 8 books in a day to a 3-year-old so we decided to do that this week to reach our second goal in the Metro Library System’s Summer Reading Program. What an easy way to not only make sure your child is getting read to every day, but it’s a great way to earn great prizes.
Just for completing Goal 2, we received a ticket to Frontier City/White Water Bay, 2 tickets to an Oklahoma City RedHawks game and a ticket to Oklahoma Children’s Theatre.
Sign up today, get reading and get rewards!
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor
If you visit one of the libraries of the Metropolitan Library System and haven’t enrolled your child in the summer reading program, you’re missing out on some neat prizes.
“Be Creative @ Your Library” is a free program for children and teens. Just to get you and your child started, you’ll get a packet with all kinds of free goodies: stickers, a coupon for free tots at Sonic, a couple of bookmarks, a reading log, free admission to local attractions and a chance to win tuition from Oklahoma College Savings Plan.
Then all you need to do is read 8 books to your child to reach your first goal. Do that, and your child gets a really nice award ribbon, and coupons for free food at area restaurants.
For each goal met (8 books, 8 hours or 800 pages read) , your child is entered in drawings for really cool prizes. There isn’t a list of books, and you don’t have to just read books checked out of the library (although kids do love getting new books to read).
So sign up today at your local Metro Library branch or go to www.metrolibrary.org for more information.
~Erica Smith, copy editor
This week is Playground Safety Week (April 19-25). It celebrates the 28th anniversary of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s “Handbook for Public Playground Safety” – a document many states use as the basis for the playground safety laws.
The Safe Kids Coalition (which has a chapter in Oklahoma) gives these reminders about keeping kids safe on playground equipment:
1. Make sure the equipment is inspected frequently and kept in good repair.
2. Be sure surfacing beneath equipment is safe. The ground should be covered 12 inches deep with energy-absorbing material (rubber, sand, wood chips) and not grass or soil.
3. Don’t let kids wear helmets, necklaces, purses or clothing that has drawstrings around the neck, such as hoodies.
4. Don’t allow kids to engage in or play near, those who are pushing, shoving or crowding around the equipment.
5. Keep toddlers younger than age 5 in a separate play area, away from equipment designed for bigger kids.
6. Above all, keep your children in sight and within reach at all times. Give them your undivided attention when they’re playing on or near playground equipment.
Playgrounds are meant to be an enjoyable, fun time for children. Let’s keep them safe.
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor
*Summer can be a time of fun, sun and relaxation but it’s also a season with it’s own dangers. In an effort to bring summer safety awareness to the forefront, I will be writing a weekly series of summer safety topics, starting with last week’s post about the importance of protecting children’s eyes from the sun.
The weather is warming up and that means more children will be playing outside, and at one point or another, that means near or in a pool, pond or lake.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list drowning as the second-leading cause of unintentional death among children age 1 to 14. Children age 1-3 are at the greatest risk. 90% of drownings occur in residential swimming pools and retention ponds near the home. Most were last seen in the home and had been out of sight for less than 5 minutes. The majority were in the care of one or both parents at the time and were not the result of parental negligence.
Startling statistics, but one thing really stands out to me: The majority were not the result of parental negligence. So that means it can happen to you, to me, to our friends and family. Most of us aren’t negligent parents. We want to protect our children and we always have the best intentions. But looking at these statistics, drownings happen under the care of the most responsible parents, in the smallest amount of time, which is why this is such an important topic.
Steps to prevent drownings include:
1. Barriers. Pool fencing can help prevent children from gaining access to the pool area. Back yard ponds can also be fenced in or a mesh cover can be used to cover them. Install a four-sided fence that completely separates the pool or pond from the house and play area of the yard. The fence should be at least 4 feet tall. Use self-latching gates that open outward, with latches out of children’s reach.
2. Life jackets. Whether swimming in a pool or at the lake, life jackets are a must. According to the CDC, in 2006 9 out of 10 who drowned in boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket. DO NOT use air-filled pool toys as a means for floatation or in place of life jackets. These are toys, not life-saving devices.
3. Watch. Designate an adult to watch a child in the bathtub, swimming in or playing near any pool or body of water. Remember, a drowning can happen in less time than it takes to answer the phone. The designated adult should not be involved in any other activity than watching the child(ren). That means no mowing the lawn, reading or talking on the phone while having the child(ren) in your care.
4. Learn CPR. You are the first responder should a child start drowning. In the time it takes for paramedics to arrive, you can have already saved your child’s life. The American Red Cross has classes in the metro area year-round.
5. Learn to swim. Take heed, however, that the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend this as a primary means of drowning prevention for children younger than 4. Classes can be taken at the local YMCA, or check your city’s community centers for class offerings.
6. Swim with a buddy. Make sure older children never swim alone. Using city pools or parks with lifeguards is also a way to enjoy pool activities with an extra layer of safety.
Let’s keep our children from becoming a tragic statistic this summer. It’s worth the extra effort to keep them safe so they can enjoy many summers to come.
-Erica Smith, Copy Editor