Child and Public Health Physician
A worried mother stopped her three-year-old son from attending the day care centre because he developed a runny nose (catarrh) which had been on since his enrolment three weeks ago.
The mum claimed to have been frequenting hospital twice weekly since school resumption. She was confused and did not know the way out of the quagmire.
According to her, other children in the centre also have catarrh and could probably have been the source of her son’s infection.
A second incident happened in a preschool; the proprietress, in trying to save a dying child, had to ride on commercial motorcycle (okada) for the first time in her life to get a five-year-old boy who convulsed repeatedly in school to the emergency centre.
The school was found wanting as there were no first aid materials, no school nurse or teacher designated to be in charge of pupils’ health and no certified first aiders in the school. The school was sued for negligence and was suspended by the regulatory body till they would have the basic requirements (first aid box, life-saving gadgets and first aider) in the school.
Kindly call parents, carry them along, get consents for interventions when things go wrong.
Searching for the right daycare centre for the preschool age group may be a difficult task. Keeping the children healthy while in school is even tougher because as they start daycare, they are welcomed by germs that can cause an array of health issues such as ear infections, colds, coughs, sore throats, runny noses, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, among others.
Suggestion for caregivers and managers of day care centres
The following are needed for an excellent healthy living among kids in the daycare settings:
- Pre-entrance screening by qualified medical personnel: This will help to detect cases like communicable diseases, developmental delays. Also disorders like sickle cell and autism can be picked at an early stage.
- Cleanliness: The centres should be cleaned each day with safe, non-toxic cleaning products. Cleaning supplies must be locked safely out of reach of the children. Child care providers should clean toys each evening and sanitise them throughout the day to prevent the spread of germs.
- Hand washing: Encourage children to wash their hands throughout the day. There should also be teaching, demonstrations, songs, practice and lessons about hygiene. Caregivers must lead by examples; nannies and teachers should do hand washing as often as possible.
- Medication: There must strict policies for administering medication to the children, ensuring that the medications are safe and are protected. Based on new research about healthy practices for infants and toddlers, a doctor’s note should be given for any medication, prescription or over the counter, given to a child under two years to ensure safety.
- Child protection (safety and security), CCTV (Hidden cameras) should be an essential component of a good day care centre; this will allow the day care managers to monitor staff, children, visitors, and parents. Mothers who may be suspicious of wrongdoing on the child can request for playback. Electrical appliances, boiling rings, flasks and other hot instruments should be put away.
- Dedicated, friendly caregivers and nannies who are trained in child development, early childhood education or related fields should be employed to take care of the children. All staff members are to be trained in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
- Caregivers, nannies, and food vendors should be screen annually for communicable diseases. They should do chest X-rays, stool tests, mantoux, typhoid screening, among others, annually to prevent the spread of communicable diseases from caregiver to the kids.
- Parents are to keep their children at home should they suffer any of the following: Diarrhea ( frequent watery stools more than thrice a day), vomiting (after two consecutive bouts), temperature of 38 C or over, earache, severe headache or stiffness in the neck, persistent cough, lice, chickenpox, measles, mumps, meningitis, impetigo (skin infection), pneumonia (cough, fast breathing and fever).
- Day care centres should have a special room that may also serve as a school sick bay. The services of a school nurse may be needed to render first aid.
- Harmful practices like force-feeding, using sedatives for children, sucking the nostrils of infants with mouth should be avoided.
In conclusion, children in these centres are more likely to catch infections than kids who do not attend day care. Children who go to day care centres are often around other kids who may be sick. However, being around a large number of germs in the centres may improve children’s immunity. Also due to the alarming rates of child abuse in the country, children should be protected from the male workers (male guards, security, drivers, among others) to prevent child sexual abuse.
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