Child Care

Many of us send our children to child care during the day. Though child care centres work hard to provide safe and healthy environments for children, germs can spread quickly between kids. CK Public Health works to prevent children from getting sick at child care centres. 

What We Do

Our public health inspectors:

  • Inspect licensed child care centres to ensure food is being handled safely and that best practices for infection prevention and control are in place
  • Provide education and advice to child care staff on preventing the spread of diseases and infections
  • Provide consultation to child care centres on managing disease outbreaks
  • Investigate complaints about the infection control practices of both licensed child care centres and unlicensed, home-based child care providers
  • Educate parents on the best ways to protect their children’s health and prevent others from getting sick
Things You Can Do
Who’s at Risk

Because children’s bodies are still growing, they are not as good at fighting off germs. Children often get sick more often than adults because they don’t know what germs are or how they spread. They may do things like:

  • Not wash their hands after using the toilet
  • Chew on dirty toys or objects
  • Rely on caregivers to change their diapers

It is important that child care centres use best practices to prevent germs from spreading between children to prevent disease outbreaks. This includes things like cleaning and disinfecting toys and surfaces and practising food safety. Proper infection control stops the spread of common childhood diseases, like influenza, the common cold, chicken pox, hand foot and mouth disease, measles, pink eye, pertussis (whooping cough), RSV, pinworm, ringworm, and germs that cause diarrhea and vomiting.

CK Public Health regularly inspects licensed child care centres and provides advice and support to make sure they are operating safely. Unlicensed, home-based child care providers are only inspected if CK Public Health receives a complaint.

Ways You Can Protect Your Child and Others

Do these simple things to protect your child’s health and to prevent others from getting sick:

  • Teach your child about proper handwashing – handwashing prevents germs from spreading
    • Learn more about proper handwashing here
  • Get your child immunized – immunization is the best way to protect your child from many diseases
    • Children are required to be immunized before attending child care centres or school – learn more here
  • Keep your child home if he or she is too sick for child care – this will help prevent others from getting sick
Should my child be at child care?

You can help prevent disease outbreaks by keeping sick kids home. Sometimes, it can be hard to know when a sick child is too sick for child care. Use these guidelines:

Send your child to child care if
  • Your child’s symptoms have been improving for 24 hours (48 hours if there is nausea, vomit or diarrhea and,
  • Your child has not taken fever-reducing medicine within the past 24 hours and has not had a fever during that time and,
  • Your child can fully participate in child care activities
Keep your child home if
  • Your child has a temperature above 37.7 degrees Celsius
  • Your child has been throwing up or has had diarrhea in the last 48 hours
  • Your child’s eyes are red and painful with discharge (e.g. pus) that keeps coming back during the day
  • Your child has been having body aches, fatigue and frequent headaches
  • Your child has had a cough, runny nose or sore throat
  • Your child has a rash that has not been seen by a healthcare provider
  • Your child does not feel well enough to participate in child care activities
Consult your health care provider if
  • Your child has had a fever for more than 2 days
  • Your child has had a sore throat and fever for several days
  • Your child has been throwing up or has had diarrhea for more than 2 days
  • Your child has had a cough for more than a week and it isn’t getting better
  • Your child has had a fever and now has a rash too
If You Have Questions or Concerns

You can always ask questions or report concerns about child care centres to CK Public Health. A public health inspector or public health nurse will follow up with you.