Infection Control Policies Prevent "Germ Factories"

Many early childhood classrooms are potential "germ factories," where children and teachers are at risk of contracting communicable diseases, according to George Smith, Ph.D., Executive Director and CEO of Management Planning Institute, Inc. In these settings, there is a 2- to 3-fold increase in risk for various infections. Additionally, MRSA, a kind of staph infection that is more difficult to treat, is now being seen in early childhood centers.

Dr. Smith recommends that early childhood programs initiate a universal infection control policy. While such policies may differ from program to program, some basic principles exist:

  • The Sick Child Rules should include phone calls and education to parents, a special area for the sick child, and a procedure for cleaning the area after the child has been picked up.
  • The consistent and proper use and disposal of latex-free glovesantibacterial wipes, and diapers can decrease the spread of E. coli.
  • Children should be taught toothbrush care, which includes thoroughly washing their brushes after use and storing them separately to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Enforce the immunization requirements by informing parents which immunizations their child will need before and during enrollment.

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