Child Care Providers | Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Child Care Providers

Healthy Eating

Child care providers play an essential role in helping children develop healthy relationships with eating and food. Young children may consume more than half of their daily meals and snacks while in child care. Child care providers are not only responsible for providing foods that support growth and development, but also for reinforcing positive eating behaviours and attitudes that can last a lifetime.

A healthy nutrition environment exists when healthy eating behaviours are promoted through both words and actions. Reinforcing healthy eating through role modeling, activities, and celebrations creates a nutrition environment that encourages children to be positive about eating and make healthy choices.  

New Nutrition Resources for Child Care Providers

Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health has created a 10-minute online learning module to help child care providers meet and exceed the nutrition requirements set out by the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (section 42 of Ont. Reg. 137/15).

To complete the Nutrition for Children in Licensed Child Care Settings module, please click on the image/link below:

 Picture of first slide of Licensed Child Care Settings module

This module reviews the legal nutrition requirements for licensed child care providers, discusses practical ways to meet these requirements in your child care facility, and provides resources to help you learn more about specific food and nutrition topics. Content for the module is based on the following resources created by Ontario Dietitians in Public Health (ODPH):

Menu Planning & Supportive Nutrition Environments in Child Care Settings - Practical Guide

This practical guide provides information on choosing healthy foods and beverages, menu planning, and promoting healthy eating in a positive way. The recommendations in this guide reflect current best practices for feeding children in child care settings and support providers in meeting and exceeding the CCEYA nutrition requirements.

Menu and Nutrition Environment Self-Assessment Tool for Child Care Settings

Designed to complement the Practical Guide, this tool helps child care providers determine what is going well in their facility and what improvements can be made in their nutrition practices.

 Additional Tools and Resources:

  • HPEPH Nutrition Resources

    • Food Access Guide: Information on free and low cost food and meal programs in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties including emergency food services, food box programs, and community gardens.
    • Nutrition Directory: A comprehensive list of local reliable and credible nutrition programs and services for the public.
    • Healthy Life Line: Speak to a Registered Dietitian from Hastings Prince Edward Public Health about nutrition in child care settings, 613-966-5500, ext. 610 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 610. TTY: 711 or 1-800-267-6511.
  • Unlockfood.ca: This website from Dietitians of Canada provides information on nutrition, food, and healthy eating along with recipes, videos, and interactive tools.
  • Telehealth Ontario: Registered Dietitians at Telehealth are available weekdays from 9-5 to answer health-related questions or concerns about food and healthy eating. Call 1-866-797-0000 and press 2 to connect with a Dietitian.

 

Physical Activity

Physical activity is essential for healthy childhood growth and development. Children who are active when they are young grow up to be healthier adults with less risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease.

As a child care provider, you can give the children in your care a healthy start by providing lots of opportunities to be active. Plenty of active play helps children develop physical literacy. Physical literacy is about developing the fundamental movement skills that all children need such as running, throwing and hopping. The development of these movement skills give children the confidence and competence to participate in physical activity. 

New Resource for Child Care Providers

Healthy Kids Community Challenge Hastings Prince Edward has created a 15-minute online module that reviews why a balanced day is important for children, the role you have as a child care provider in getting kids active, the 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children aged 0-4 and important health messages to send home with parents and guardians.

To complete the A Balanced Day: Tips and Guidelines for Child Care Providers module, please click on the image/link below.

Children running outside

The 24-Hour Movement Guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations for physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep within a 24-hour period.  

Legislative Requirements

According to the Child Care and Early Years Act (2014), all licensed and unlicensed child care providers, including centres and home care environments, must meet requirements related to the following:

  • Indoor and outdoor play opportunities
  • Rest, sleep and quiet time
  • Indoor and outdoor play spaces and equipment (e.g. playgrounds)

Healthy Child Care Environment

The following online resources can help you integrate physical activity in your child care setting:

Continuing Education

  • Have a Ball Together Online Learning Modules: Two learning modules developed by the Best Start Resource Centre to help support continuing education regarding physical literacy and physical activity for those caring for children aged 0-6 years.  Each module takes about 30 minutes to complete and a downloadable certificate is provided following the completion their completion. 

Home/Child Care Setting Connections

  • Healthy Kids Community Challenge: A community-led program that promotes the health and well-being of children in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties through the development of local policies, programs and initiatives that encourage and enable physical activity, healthy eating, and other healthy habits.

 

 

Food Safety

When food is not handled properly, it poses a risk of spreading disease. It is especially important to practice safe food handling in a child care setting because food borne illness can have a more serious impact on young children.

Food safety is the responsibility of all staff in a child care setting. Staff who handle food must comply with personal hygiene requirements including washing hands properly, wearing clean outer garments, and ensuring hair is confined.

Licensed child care settings that prepare and serve daily meals and snacks are considered a food premise, and as such, must comply with Ontario Regulation 493/17: Food Premises (in effect as of July 1, 2018). Under section 32 of these regulations, at least one food handler or supervisor who has completed food handler training is required to be on the premise during operating hours. In-person and online food handler training courses are available at HPEPH. See the Food Handler Training Course webpage for more details.

For more information about your specific legal requirements contact a Public Health Inspector at 613-966-5500, ext. 349 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 349. TTY: 711 or 1-800-267-6511.

Resources:

Infection Prevention and Control

Children in child care centres are more prone to infections. A higher number of respiratory and enteric illnesses occur in this setting. To help prevent the spread of communicable diseases in child care centres:

  1. Ensure children in your facility are immunized.
  2. Encourage parents to keep ill children home until they are well enough to participate in all activities.
  3. Teach children good personal hygiene, including hand washing, not sharing personal items, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue or their elbow.
  4. Properly clean and disinfect surfaces in your facility.
  5. Report any suspected or confirmed communicable diseases or outbreaks within your facility to the Communicable Disease Intake Line at 613-966-5500 ext. 349 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 349. TTY: 711 or 1-800-267-6511.

Resources:

Child Care Centers - Immunization and Tuberculosis Screening for Children and Staff

Child Care Attendees

Immunizations help to protect children from serious diseases that are still found circulation in our communities.

Under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014, S.O. 2014, c. 11, Sched. 1, children attending a licensed child care centre, who are not in attendance at a school (e.g., infants, toddlers, and preschoolers), must be immunized as recommended by the local Medical Officer of Health.

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health requires that children are immunized against the following diseases according to Ontario's Publicly Funded Immunization Schedules:

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Pertussis
  • Polio
  • Haemophilus influenzae (type b)
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Varicella
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Pneumococcal disease
  • Rotavirus (as eligible)

Child Care Operators are asked to ensure parents complete the following form and attach a copy of their child’s immunization record (ensure child’s name and date of birth are on the record).  Please fax a copy of this information to Public Health.  Public Health staff will review vaccination information on each child enrolled in a Child Care program.  If a child’s immunizations are not up-to-date Public Health will contact the Child Care Centre.  Child Care centres are then asked to follow up with parents/children.  Failure to send in the information or have children vaccinated may result in the child being excluded from care.

Parents will be given one month time to get their children immunized, to retrieve the information about previous immunizations, and to send the information to public health.

Exemptions

Some children are not immunized, either due to serious illness or allergy, or their family’s philosophical beliefs. Exemption forms are available to be signed by parents. These forms are called “Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief”, and need to notarized. View, download and print the Provincial Exemption Form.

Print the Provincial Exemption Form and fill out the top section (this is the Child Care and Early Years Act exemption form, for children not yet in school, aged 4 years and younger).

The form needs to be signed and stamped by a commissioner of oaths, notary public or a justice of the peace.

The notarized form needs to be delivered to Public Health through mail or dropped off. A second copy needs to be on file at the licensed child care center.
When children are not vaccinated, they are at risk for the specific diseases that vaccines prevent. When signing these forms, parents need to know that if there is a disease outbreak at their child’s daycare or school, and their child is not immunized, the Medical Officer of Health will not allow the child to attend until the outbreak is over. This is done to protect their health.

Medical exemption forms are also available (for severe medical allergies or conditions where immunization is not indicated), and need to be filled out by a physician. If you need these forms, please contact Public Health at 613-966-5500 ext 221.

Update Vaccination Records

There are four options available to update HPEPH with your child’s immunization records:

  1. Through our website by using ICON
  2. Phone: 613-966-5500 ext. 221     
  3. Fax:  613-966-8145     
  4. Email: CDCIMM@hpechu.on.ca

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health also provides publicly funded vaccinations at not charge through routine immunization appointments. Please bring any previous immunization record to the clinic when attending.

To book an immunization appointment in Belleville please call 613-966-5500 ext. 221

To book an immunization appointment in Trenton please call 613-394-4831

To book an immunization appointment in Picton please call 613-966-5500 ext. 221

To book an immunization appointment in Bancroft please call 613-332-4555

Child Care Staff

According to ONTARIO REGULATION 137/15 under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014, “Every licensee of a child care centre shall ensure that, before commencing employment, each person employed in each child care centre it operates has a health assessment and immunization as recommended by the local Medical Officer of Health.”  This includes each person who is ordinarily a resident of the premises, or regularly at the premises, as well as students and volunteers in the child care centre.

The Medical Officer of Health for Hastings Prince Edward Public Health has recently reviewed and revised the immunization and TB skin testing requirements for childcare staff.  Please see the following updated list of required (and recommended) immunizations and tuberculosis screening:

Required Immunizations:

  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap) – one dose is needed by adults followed by Tetanus Diphtheria (Td) every ten years.
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) – two doses of MMR vaccine, or laboratory evidence of immunity, for adults born in or after 1970; adults born before 1970 can be considered immune.

Recommended Immunizations:

  • Varicella (chickenpox) – recommended if no known history of chickenpox disease.
  • Hepatitis B
  • Influenza

Tuberculosis (TB) Screening:

HPEPH no longer requires routine screening of all childcare employees.  TB screening shall be restricted to those who are at high risk of active tuberculosis as per the Canadian TB Standards and includes the following persons:  child-care staff and volunteers who have lived and/or travelled outside of Canada to a country where TB is common or lived and/or worked in a First Nations Community

If the employee meets the HPEPH criteria for TB screening it must be completed within the 12 months prior to starting employment (or following any possible exposure to Tuberculosis ie, travel/work in high risk country or area).

HPEPH Communicable Disease Program has developed the attached Childcare Staff and Volunteer Pre-Employment Immunization Form to assist childcare centers and their employees with collection of this information.  Please keep copies of the attached form on hand at your childcare facility for new staff/volunteers. 

Employees who are not immunized due to serious illness, allergy or philosophical beliefs may receive an exemption. View, download and print the Provincial Exemption Form “Statement of Conscience or Religious Belief” from http://www.forms.ssb.gov.on.ca. Form must be signed and stamped by a commissioner of oaths, notary public or justice of the peace and be kept in the employee’s file.

 

 
 

Sun Safety

While many of us enjoy outdoor activities, it's important to ensure that we practice sun safety. Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can damage the skin and eyes.

Overexposure to UV rays can lead to:

  • Skin cancer
  • Sun burns
  • Skin damage
  • Eye damage

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Canada. UV rays are the main risk factor for skin cancer. While everyone is at risk for developing skin cancer, it is one of the most preventable cancers.

Enjoy the sun safely and reduce your risk of skin cancer by practicing sun safe behaviours all year long. General sun safety tips: 

  1. Consider the time of day. If you can, limit time in the sun when the UV index is 3 or higher, usually between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  2. Seek shade. You can also make shade by using an umbrella, a UV protective tent, or pop-up shade shelter.
  3. Cover up. Wear UV-protective clothing, or clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Wear a wide brimmed hat or a baseball cap with flaps that cover the head, neck, and ears.
  4. Wear sunscreen. Apply plenty of sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, and ensure the sunscreen is labelled ‘broad spectrum’ and ‘water resistant’. Reapply when needed, especially after swimming, sweating, or towelling. Use a lip balm that contains SPF.
  5. Wear sunglasses. Wear close fitting/wrap-around sunglasses with UV 400 or 100% UV protection.
  6. Seek vitamin D elsewhere. Exposing yourself to UV rays is not the best way to meet vitamin D needs, and may result in unnecessary skin damage.

Fact Sheets:  

 

Child Development

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health offers programs and services to support caregivers of children ages 0 – 6. If you have questions, you can contact our Child Health CARELine at 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 223 to speak with a public health nurse. 
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Developmental Screening

Child development follows predictable milestones; however, every child is unique and will develop at their own rate. It is important for parents and caregivers to learn about child development and use activities to promote healthy growth and development.

 Child care providers play a key role in early childhood development, by providing a stimulating and safe learning environment for children. Child care providers are also well-positioned to help identify children who do not meet growth and development milestones. It is best if children have regular screening to identify areas of their development that may need support. The earlier the screening is done, the better, and making early referrals to the right community services is important.

The following resources will help you and parents monitor and support development of children in child care settings:

If you have concerns about the development of children in your care and are not sure how to address these concerns with the parent(s), please call the Child Health CARELine at 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 223 to speak with a public health nurse. You can also text the CARELine at 450-990-5551.