5 tips to keep your kids healthy at daycare

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Many parents worry about their children’s health once they start daycare. In this environment, viruses can easily spread from one child to the next as they play and share toys and food. This is especially scary during COVID-19 times. To ease your anxiety, here are five tips to guide you when checking out your child’s daycare centre (or prospective daycare centre):

  1. Ask about their COVID-19 policy

    Most child care centres should have additional guidelines in place. This will include measures like masking, physical distancing, hand sanitation, scheduling shifts for use of shared spaces, and vaccination requirements for both the kids and staff.

    You can also observe or ask if staff members follow protocols for hand washing especially when they change diapers, handle feeding, or when they assist kids after using the restroom, wiping their runny noses, etc. See if they use soaps or hand sanitizers, and if their rooms are equipped with an easily accessible sink. Also, observe the areas where they serve and prepare meals. Check if the areas are clean and if the staff are properly attired (aprons, hairnets, and gloves).

  2. Observe the facility

    When you visit the centre, take note of the surroundings, facilities, the general mood of the children, as well as the number of staff you see watching over the kids. You can ask the centre manager to give you a tour of the place to see the facilities first hand. Before you go, it will be helpful to print out this checklist from the Child Care Information Services, Manitoba.ca to guide you on what to look for and the questions to ask when you visit a child care facility: Checklist for visiting a licenced child care.

  3. Be clear about regulations and standards on their “sick policy”

    Know more about the centre’s regulations about handling sick children and how these are enforced. Centres usually provide a list of symptoms that tell parents when they should keep kids at home (e.g. fever of more than 38.3 Celcius/100F, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, etc.). Some even have exclusion policies where they set a certain number of days before a child who has had a certain illness can return (for instance, a seven-day exclusion policy for chicken pox). Aside from this, find out how they handle kids who get sick on the premises, and what supports are available for such instances. If the facility has a “Parent Policy Manual”, make sure to get a copy.

  4. Talk to the facility’s director/manager about daycare standards

    Aside from health and safety regulations, ask the director or manager about their staff’s training and support. Some day care centres have health consultants that check and update standards, as well as continuously train staff. The centre’s communication policy is another aspect you should find out about. Do they have guidelines and procedures for informing parents when there are medical emergencies? Do they update parents about any changes in daycare operations? Do they have an open-door communication policy with parents?

  5. Boost your child’s immunity

    The best shield against sickness is boosting your child’s immunity. Consult your doctor for vitamins or supplements if you want to be certain that your kids are getting enough nutrients. Most importantly, get your child vaccinated against COVID-19 and make sure that their subsequent vaccinations are up to date. If you need more information about the COVID vaccine for five-11 years old, read 5 things you should know about the COVID-19 vaccine for kids.

    It also important to train your child proper hygiene. This includes washing their hands often, not picking their nose, covering their mouths when they cough or sneeze, and not putting toys or other objects in their mouths when they play.

Article updated December 2, 2021.

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Community Resources

For more information about child care, Manitoba’s policies on child care, or financial assistance for child care fees, go to A Guide to Child Care in Manitoba or contact Child Care Information Services at 204-945-0776, toll-free 1-888-213-4754 or email cdcinfo@gov.mb.ca.

For free parenting programs, resources, support groups and other programs that promote family health and well-being, you can go to these links for more information: Winnipeg Health Region.ca Health Parenting and Early Childhood Development, MOSAIC Family Programs, Manitoba Aboriginal Head Start/Aboriginal Health & Wellness Centre of Winnipeg.

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5 tips to keep your kids healthy at daycare

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