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Childcare Safety Tips

mother holding daughter in arms

Child care is often a challenge for families during “normal” times. With businesses, including daycare and child care centers, being asked to close their doors to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, that challenge has only grown. Families may be relying on friends/neighbors and/or unlicensed daycare providers to help out during this critical time.

10 Tips to Keep Your Family Safe

  1. Take children’s temperatures and monitor possible symptoms daily. If the child’s temperate is elevated or they have symptoms of respiratory illness, stay home and away from others.
  2. Have children wash their hands as soon as they come in, before they leave, before eating and any time they engage in a new activity. Make this a fun part of your daily routine, instead of a chore.
  3. Be prepared to talk to children about why you are doing things differently, without adding to the anxiety they may already be feeling.
  4. Get outside as much as possible. With the fresh air, sunshine and fewer surfaces outside, the chances of spreading germs are greatly reduced.
  5. If your area is providing free meals to children, take advantage of it. You can always supplement the meal and provide healthy snacks if you want.
  6. When feeding children, it is best to serve them so there are not multiple hands on the serving utensils and platters, especially during a virus outbreak. Serve individual snacks. Instead of having children help themselves to the big bag of chips, serve each child a portion separately. Consider designated cups for each child and label disposable containers with the child's name.
  7. If the children have school work, set aside a scheduled time to do it. Find a space for them to spread out and work comfortably, without spreading germs or distracting each other. Take breaks as needed; children often need to get up and move frequently to keep their brains engaged and ready to learn.
  8. Provide each child with their own pencils/markers/art and sensory materials in a labeled bag with their name on it to limit the sharing of germs. It's a good time for every child to make their own slime and not share.
  9. Wash and sanitize common items and areas such as toys, bathrooms, door knobs, TV remotes, tables, etc. often throughout the day. Older children may enjoy helping with this.
  10. Limit children to larger open areas such as the living room and have the children use only one bathroom – this will help limit the spread of germs throughout your home as well as limit the areas that will need frequent sanitizing.

Jessica Pollitt Hudson is a youth health educator for WVU Extension Service in Kanawha County.