Posted in Business Practice, ECE Information

Winter Safety Tips

Whether winter brings severe storms, light snow or just cold temperatures, it is our responsibility to keep the children in our care safe and warm.  The following Winter Safety Tips are from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Set reasonable time limits on outdoor play to prevent hypothermia and frostbite.  Have children come inside periodically to warm up.

What to Wear
 Dress infants and children warmly for outdoor activities.  Several thin layers will keep them dry and warm. Don’t forget warm boots, gloves or mittens, and a hat.
 For older babies and young children dress them in one more layer of
clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions.  The sun’s rays can still cause sunburn in the winter, especially when they reflect off snow.  Make sure to
cover your child’s exposed skin with sunscreen and consider using sunglasses.

Hypothermia (when a child’s temperature falls below normal due to exposure to colder temperatures)
 Hypothermia can occur more quickly in children than in adults. It often happens when a youngster is playing outdoors in extremely cold weather without wearing proper clothing or when clothes get wet.
 As hypothermia sets in, the child may shiver and become lethargic and clumsy.  Speech may become slurred and body temperature will decline in more severe cases.  If you suspect your child is hypothermic, call 911 at once. Until help arrives, take the child indoors, remove any wet clothing, and wrap him in blankets or warm clothes.

Frostbite (when the skin and outer tissues become frozen) Do not rub the frozen areas!               This condition tends to happen on extremities like the fingers, toes, ears and nose.  They may become pale, gray and blistered. At the same time, the child may complain that his/her skin burns or has become numb.
 If frostbite occurs, bring the child indoors and place the frostbitten parts of her body in warm (not hot) water.  104° Fahrenheit (about the temperature of most hot tubs) is recommended. Warm washcloths may be applied to frostbitten nose, ears and lips. Do not rub the frozen area!   After a few minutes, dry and cover the child with clothing or blankets. Give him/her something warm to drink.
  If the numbness continues for more than a few minutes, call your doctor.

 Winter Sports and Activities:
Ice Skating
 Allow children to skate only on approved surfaces.  Check for signs posted by local police or recreation departments, or call your local police department to find out which areas have been approved.
 Advise your child to:
Skate in the same direction as the crowd
Avoid darting across the ice
Never skate alone
Not chew gum or eat candy while skating
Consider having child wear a helmet, knee and elbow pads, especially while learning to skate Sledding
 Keep sledders away from motor vehicles.
 Sledding feet first or sitting up, instead of lying down head-first, may prevent head injuries.
 Consider having your child wear a helmet while sledding.
 Sled slopes should be free of obstructions like trees or fences, not be too steep (slope of less than 30º), and end with a flat runoff.
Snow Skiing and Snowboarding
 Children should be taught to ski or snowboard by a qualified instructor in a program designed for children.
 All skiers and snowboarders should wear helmets.
 Equipment should fit the child.
 Slopes should fit the ability and experience of the skier or snowboarder.
Snowmobiling
 The AAP recommends that children under age 16 not operate snowmobiles and that children under age 6 never ride on snowmobiles.
 Do not use a snowmobile to pull a sled or skiers.
 Wear goggles and a safety helmet approved for use on motorized vehicles like motorcycles.
 Travel at safe speeds.
 Stay on marked trails, away from roads, water, railroads and pedestrians.

Posted in ECE Information

Reduce Childhood Lead Exposure in Maine

Following is an email FCCAM received asking for assistance in reaching family child care providers.

Hello,

The below email is intended for staff at schools, day cares, and other child care facilities where there is risk of exposure to lead-contaminated paint and water. Please assist the US EPA in distributing this message throughout Maine as part of our geographic-based initiative in the Seacoast Area of New Hampshire and Maine to help reduce childhood lead exposure.

Thank you!

August 2018

Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 1.32.06 PM

Dear Child Care Educator/Provider:

Is your school or child care center set up to combat childhood lead poisoning?

Children may become lead poisoned when they inhale lead dust, drink lead-contaminated water, or eat lead-contaminated paint chips, soil or food. Lead poisoning can cause lifelong impacts, including developmental impairment, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavioral problems. Lead risks can occur in both urban and rural communities.  The information below is intended to help you reduce the risk of lead exposure in your school or child care center.

In 2018, EPA Region 1 launched a geographic-based initiative in the Seacoast Area of New Hampshire and Maine to help reduce childhood lead exposure. EPA is working with state and local partners to focus assistance, training, inspections, and enforcement on increased compliance with lead-safe rules and practices. Population growth and an uptick in renovation projects impacting lead paint were key factors in selecting this geographic area.

With this initiative, EPA aims to reduce lead exposures through increased awareness of and improved compliance with the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule issued under the authority of the Toxic Substances Control Act.  This is the fourth such lead-based paint geographic initiative undertaken by EPA Region 1 since 2014.  While in these cities, EPA will also assess compliance with the federal Disclosure Rule where applicable and provide educational information about lead in drinking water.

Lead Paint

Lead paint dust is the #1 cause of childhood lead poisoning.  Infants and children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure.  Because New England has a lot of older housing stock, lead paint is still frequently present in buildings that were built before 1978, when lead paint was banned.

Although the United States banned lead in residential paint in 1978, houses and schools built before 1978 could still contain lead-based paint.  Risk of exposure to lead paint and dust is significantly increased during renovation, repair, or painting activities.  Among other things, the RRP Rule requires that renovations of child-occupied facilities built before 1978 be carried out only by Lead-Safe Certified renovation contractors who are trained in lead-safe work practices.  This is to ensure that these renovations do not inadvertently expose children to hazardous lead dust.

You can help control the dangers of lead-based paint by:

  1. Watching for and addressing peeled or disturbed paint in your pre-1978 school or child care facility.
  2. Hiring a Lead-Safe Certified renovation firm to renovate, repair, or paint your pre-1978 school building or child care facility.  Ask your building’s contractor for proof of lead-safe certification.
  3. Becoming a Lead-Safe Certified firm.  Your maintenance staff would take an RRP Rule training course and use proper lead-safe work practices.  Be sure to maintain records of your certification and lead-safe renovation work.
  4. Tell parents about the risks of lead paint exposure and encourage them to hire a Lead-Safe Certified firm for their pre-1978 home renovations.  EPA provides free outreach materials to educate parents about lead safety and the RRP Rule.

More information about hiring an RRP Lead-Safe Certified firm, becoming a certified firm, or attending certification training in your area may be found at: https://www.epa.gov/lead/renovation-repair-and-painting-program-operators-childcare-facilities.

Lead in Drinking Water

Common sources of lead in water include lead pipes, lead solder, faucets or components containing brass.  Testing the water with a certified laboratory is the only sure way to determine whether the water from the tap contains elevated lead.  Contact Maine Department of Health and Human Services (ME DHHS) at(866) 292-3474 to find a certified lab that will test your drinking water for lead.

You can reduce lead exposure from water by:

  1. Removing or replacing known sources of lead.
  2. Flushing your pipes by running your tap before using water for drinking or cooking.
  3. Using only cold water for drinking, cooking and making baby formula. Boiling water does not remove lead from water.
  4. Cleaning your faucet’s screen regularly (also known as an aerator).
  5. Consider using a water filter certified to remove lead and know when it’s time to replace the filter.

More information about preventing lead exposure through drinking water in schools and child care facilities may be found at: https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/lead-drinking-water-schools-and-childcare-facilities.

More Resources about Lead:

You can educate your students about lead safety using these EPA videos geared towards grade school children:

  • Video: How Mother Bear Taught the Children about Lead – Part I
  • Video: How Mother Bear Taught the Children about Lead – Part II

The State of Maine also has lead safety rules that need to be followed, and offers programs, trainings, and outreach materials that can be used to disseminate information about lead to parents and children. Follow these links for more information:

For more information on EPA Region 1’s lead poisoning prevention efforts and available outreach materials, please contact Amanda Brylski, Regional Lead Coordinator, at (617) 918-1758, or by email at Brylski.Amanda@epa.gov.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Sincerely,

Sharon M. Hayes

Sharon M. Hayes, Manager
Toxics and Pesticides Unit
Office of Environmental Stewardship

Report a violation of Lead Paint Rules in New England
Phone: 617-918-TIPS (8477) or toll free 1-888-372-7341, ext. 8-8477

https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/reporting-violation-lead-paint-rules-new-england

UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

Posted in Business Practice

Serious Injury and Death Policy

The Family Child Care Licensing Rule requires licensees to have a number of policies written out and clearly shared with guardians.

A record that the provider has shared the following information with the child’s parent at the time of admission:

a. Child guidance practices;

b. Parental visitation at the child care site;

c. Expulsion and suspension practices;

d. Management of child illness;

e. Emergency preparedness for natural disasters and human-caused events, including but not limited to, fire drills;

f. Release of children to non-custodial caregivers;

g. Mandated reporting; and

h. Serious injury and child death reporting

FCCAM is hearing that providers are questioning how to approach Serious Injury and Death reporting.

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Remember, that the Licensing Rule only requires providers to have a policy. It does not tell you what you have to have in it. You are required by law to report a serious injury to the state. You should make families aware of that. Providers are questioning having to have the word death in their policies. Again that is up to the provider. A detailed Accident/Illness/Injury Form, with an additional section for Serious Injury, should allow for the documentation of an occurrence of death through questions on treatment, outcome, result of injury, etc.

Here is sample language for Serious Injury and Death that you could include as part of your policy on management of illnesses:

As required by the licensing rule, any injury to a child while in the care of (business name) will be reported to their guardian. A written copy of a completed Accident/Illness/Injury Report will be kept in the child’s file. Where necessary under law the report will be forwarded to the appropriate governing agency. Guardians and state licensing staff know children are active and no amount of child proofing and supervision can prevent all injuries. However, reporting juries can help prevent them in the future by identifying injury patterns specific to the child care’s environment, and/or with a child who may need help with difficulties associated with balance, vision or foot positioning.

Medical attention is a guardian decision. When a guardian cannot be reached (business name) will act in their stead when a decision on immediate medical attention is needed.

Serious injuries will be reported to the Child Care Licensing Unit at 287-9300 within 24 hours. 

The following sample contains suggested content to be included in a Serious Injury Form. It would be completed, in addition to your general Accident/Injury/Illness Report, if a serious injury or death occurred.

Serious Injury Report: Report for injuries that require medical treatment by a physician or emergency room visit.

Medical attention:

___ Parent contacted, child remained in program

___ Paramedics treated

___ Transported to hospital by ambulance

___ Parent reported taking child to doctor/clinic

___ Parent reported taking child to emergency room

___ Child admitted to hospital

___ Other:

Describe outcome: (Example: cast, stitches, return to child care date, etc.):
Comments:

Witnesses to Injury, print name(s):
Name of official/agency notified:

Date/Time of notification:

Person reporting injury:

Print Name:

Signature:                                                                                        Date:

Thinking about the impact of a serious injury or death during your day, it also makes sense to have written procedural information on how to handle such an event. This procedural information fits well in the required Emergency Preparedness Plan. Here is sample language from the the EPP found here on FCCAM’s website.

Serious Injury/Child Death

  • If a child is injured while in childcare, they will be checked for life-threatening situations and appropriate CPR/First aid will be given.
  • If child is seriously injured, or death has occurred, 911 will be called.
  • Guardian will be contacted.
  • Injured child will be kept calm and comfortable until medical services arrive.  
  • Other children present will be kept calm, removing from area to a safe location while remaining under supervision.
  • Serious Injury/death will be reported to Licensing Office, as soon as possible, within 24 hrs.

As uncomfortable as it can be to think and talk about serious injury or death with current families or potential clients, having a written policy is reassuring to families that you are prepared.

For an even simpler option check out our Business Tool Kit / Policies / Reporting Serious Injury/Death.