Health & Illness
Prevent illness in your child care business
Diseases can spread easily and quickly in child care environments, and children are more susceptible to some illnesses. This is because children have less developed immune systems, may not have received all of their vaccinations, are in close contact with many other children, and are still learning healthy habits. Here is an activity booklet to help children learn to stay healthy.
The Snohomish County Health Department Child Care Health Outreach program helps child care owners and workers with the challenge of preventing illness and maintaining sanitary child care environments. We offer on-site visits and consultations, distance learning classes, and resources.
Illnesses in child care
When to send a child or worker home: Exclusion guidelines
In group settings, illness can spread rapidly. Child care providers are encouraged to call the Child Care Health Outreach program at Snohomish County Health Department to discuss guidelines for observing, responding to, and reporting symptoms of illness. Our qualified staff can:
- Advise on when a child is too sick to be in care
- Advise on when a child or staff member can return after an illness
- Provide sample notification letters for specific illnesses
- Support and educate staff and families during a communicable disease outbreak
Telling public health & parents about an illness
Child care providers are required by law to report certain diseases called notifiable conditions to Snohomish County Health Department. If the disease is on the list of notifiable conditions, or if there is a cluster of any illness suggesting a possible outbreak, it should be formally reported to the Communicable Disease program at 425-339-5278.
Although some diseases may not require reporting, child care providers are welcome to call for advice. If the disease is not on the list of reportable conditions, or if you are unsure, call our program line at 425-252-5415.
Parents must also be notified when their child has been exposed to a communicable disease.
DISEASE FACT SHEETS
We provide fact sheets on a variety of illnesses for child care providers.
Child care health policies & guidelines
Child care licensing regulations state that every program must have a current, written health policy. We encourage child care and early learning programs to have their health policy signed by a licensed health professional such as a child care nurse consultant. Revising your policies periodically is important to make sure that they remain current with the latest regulations and guidance. We recommend updating your health policy at least every 3 years.
Our Child Care Center and Family Home Health Policies have been updated to reflect the 2019 update to WAC 110-300 and the most recent best practice standards outlined in Caring for Our Children, National Health and Safety Performance Standards, 4th Ed. The School Age Health Policy has been updated to reflect new school age regulation, WAC 110-301, effective June 2021. You can access the health policies through the links below. After opening the document, you may have to click "View" in the top bar on Microsoft Word and select "Edit Document." This will allow you to fill out and make selections on the form to customize it for your child care or early learning program.
- Child Care Center Health Policy (updated January 2022)
- Family Home Health Policy (updated December 2021)
- School Age Health Policy (updated January 2022)
- COVID-19 Health Policy Addendum (updated December 2021)
- Lead Addendum (updated July 2022)
For Snohomish County child care providers, the Child Care Health Outreach program staff will review and sign your health policy at no cost, provided that you use the most current template above. Once you have finished filling in your policy, email the document back to us. We will review it and contact you to set up a time to meet virtually or at your child care and complete the process to ensure that your health policy meets best practices.
For out of county child care providers or those utilizing a child care health consultant, this document can only be revised (red font removed, changes made, etc) by a registered nurse or other qualified health care professional. Have your child care health consultant contact our program to obtain editing privileges at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions or need assistance with this, please let us know.
In addition to a health policy, you may need some or all of the following supplemental policies and forms.
- Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan (DOC)
- Childhood Health History Form (PDF)
- Disaster Plan - Child Care Center or School-age Program (DOC)
- Disaster Plan - Family Home Child Cares (DOC)
- Pesticide Policy (DOC)
- Pet Policy - General 2019
- Pet Policy - Fish Only 2019
- Backyard Farm Animal Policy 2019
Many children in child care settings have special health and behavioral needs that require additional attention and resources. Children with special health care needs are defined by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as “those who have or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition and who also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally.” The AAP also supports that these children should have health care plans that are completed by the child’s primary care provider. The Child Care Health Outreach Program supports the best practice of having a health professional complete the necessary plans, and having a child care health consultant involved in the application of the plan to the child care setting. Most of the forms below were developed by ECELS (Early Childhood Education Linkage System), a program offered by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. for more detailed information on how to fill out the special care plan or which forms are needed when, please refer to the Care Plan Instructions sheet.
Individual Care Plan Forms:
All three of the following forms should be provided to the primary care provider for completion for any child with special health needs.
- Care Plan for a Child with Special Needs in Child Care
- Emergency Form for Children with Special Needs (as determined by provider)
- Authorization for Release of Information
- Dietary Modifications Posting List
Special Care Plans:
Some conditions such as asthma, severe allergies, or behavioral challenges require an additional “special care plan” to provide further guidance. You should include the following plans for these diagnoses:
- Special Care Plan for a Child with Behavior Problems
- Asthma Action Plan: this form is developed by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
- Allergy and Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan: use this plan and the Posting List below for children with allergies and intoleranceAllergy and Food Modifications Posting List
- Diabetes Care Plan: we do not offer a template for this due to the complexity of each child’s care and a need for a highly tailored plan. We recommend contacting Seattle Children’s and attending a Parent-Designated Adult class. You can learn more by clicking this link: https://www.seattlechildrens.org/clinics/endocrinology/endocrine-diabetes-classes-workshops/
When children require medications to manage their health symptoms, the following forms are also required, as applicable:
- Medication Authorization & Log
- Controlled Substances Medication Authorization & Log
- Controlled Medication Count Verification Form
- Medications in Disaster Supply Form
- Sunscreen Authorization Form
- Diaper Cream Authorization Form
- Medication Error Report
- Medication Organization Checklist
- 5 Rights of Medication Administration
BLOOD AND BODY FLUIDS: DEVELOP A PLAN
Child care providers, teachers, or managers may come in contact with blood or potentially infectious body fluids as part of their work with young children. Illnesses such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or HIV can be transmitted through blood or certain body fluids. Child care providers must use Universal Precautions to protect themselves from becoming infected. The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries requires child care providers to have a Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan to help protect staff. A model policy is included here.