Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 3: Health Promotion and Protection

3.6 Management of Illness

3.6.2 Caring for Children Who Are Ill Caregiver/Teacher Qualifications for Facilities That Care for Children Who Are Ill

Each caregiver/teacher in a facility that cares for children who are ill should have at least two years of successful work experience as a caregiver/teacher in a regular well-child facility prior to employment in the special facility. In addition, facilities should document, for each caregiver/teacher, twenty hours of pre-service orientation training on care of children who are ill beyond the orientation training specified in Standards through Standard This training should include the following subjects:

  1. Pediatric first aid and CPR, and first aid for choking;
  2. General infection-control procedures, including:
    1. Hand hygiene;
    2. Handling of contaminated items;
    3. Use of sanitizing chemicals;
    4. Food handling;
    5. Washing and sanitizing of toys;
    6. Education about methods of disease transmission.
  3. Care of children with common mild childhood illnesses, including:
    1. Recognition and documentation of signs and symptoms of illness including body temperature;
    2. Administration and recording of medications;
    3. Nutrition of children who are ill;
    4. Communication with parents/guardians of children who are ill;
    5. Knowledge of immunization requirements;
    6. Recognition of need for medical assistance and how to access;
    7. Knowledge of reporting requirements for infectious diseases;
    8. Emergency procedures.
  4. Child development activities for children who are ill;
  5. Orientation to the facility and its policies.

This training should be documented in the staff personnel files, and compliance with the content of training routinely evaluated. Based on these evaluations, the training on care of children who are ill should be updated with a minimum of six hours of annual training for individuals who continue to provide care to children who are ill.

Because meeting the physical and psychological needs of children who are ill requires a higher level of skill and understanding than caring for well children, a commitment to children and an understanding of their general needs is essential (1). Work experience in child care facilities will help the caregiver/teacher develop these skills. States that have developed rules regulating facilities have recognized the need for training in illness prevention and control and management of medical emergencies. Staff members caring for children who are ill in special facilities or in a get well room in a regular center should meet the staff qualifications that are applied to child care facilities generally.

Caregivers/teachers have to be prepared for handling illness and must understand their scope of work. Special training is required of caregivers/teachers who work in special facilities for children who are ill because the director and the caregivers/teachers are dealing with infectious diseases and need to know how to prevent the spread of infection. Each caregiver/teacher should have training to decrease the risk of transmitting disease (1).

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Initial Orientation of All Staff Orientation for Care of Children with Special Health Care Needs Orientation Topics State and Local Health Department Role
  1. Heymann, S. J., P. Hong Vo, C. A. Bergstrom. 2002. Child care providers’ experiences caring for sick children: Implications for public policy. Early Child Devel Care 172:1-8.