First Aid Requirements for Day Care Centers and Child Care Professionals in Pennsylvania
Imagine you’ve finally sat down after a chaotic and messy lunch time at your child care center. Everything has been cleaned up and your five children are off and busy with play time, out of your hair and you can (sort of) relax now and just observe, making sure every one is safe and happy. All of a sudden you realize your one child is laying face down and another one is pointing at him. Is he playing…? Is he knocked unconscious…? You rush over and discover that he appears to be unconscious and unresponsive.
Your mind is frantic as you try to revive him and yell his name; no response. He’s not breathing…does he have a heartbeat? You don’t feel a thing. Your mind rushes even more as you try to remember what you learned in an emergency training class you took ages ago and your other kids start screaming and running around, jumbling your brain even more. Do you start CPR (how many compressions is that again)? Is he choking? Perhaps you should call 911 right away and leave him be until help arrives…?
The scenario described above is one that can happen to any child care aid or operator. How do you think you’d fare in the same situation? Not only child care centers/day cares could be faced with similar emergency situations one day, but also sport coaches, Girl/Boy Scout leaders, paramedics and EMTs, Youth organizers and even babysitters and parents themselves. Obviously, children can be rowdy and unpredictable, leading to potential emergency situations of various types. The National Safety Council states that “injuries are the number one health problem for children in the United States.” It is imperative that anyone working with children on a routine basis be trained and knowledgeable on the proper response towards any issue that may arise requiring lifesaving skills.
PA Laws Regarding Child and Day Care Facilities
On December 28, 2015, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed a new law requiring child care or early learning providers catering to four or more unrelated children must be certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS). Current operators need to renew their current registration with DHS and prospective child care operators will need to contact their regional DHS office in order to attend an orientation session. Without attending an orientation session, a certificate of compliance cannot be issued.
Three Types of Child Care Facilities Affected
- Child Care Center — A facility where seven or more children unrelated to operator receive child care
- Group Child Care Home — A facility where 7-12 children of various ages OR 7-15 children from 4th grade to fifteen years of age unrelated to operator receive child care
- Family Child Care Home — A facility located in a home where four, five or six children unrelated to the caregiver receive child care
All three of these facilities must have a certificate of compliance (license) from DHS in order to legally operate.
Beginning on September 30, 2016, all prospective child care operators must provide verification that they have received the necessary training in all ten health and safety topics as prescribed by the federal government in order to become licensed. Nine of the ten topics can be trained and verified online, but the last one one, Pediatric First Aid and CPR must be a hands-on, face to face training class. Further information regarding the law can be found here. This new law affects anyone working in the field of child care who works in any of the above facilities. Pennsylvania code dictates that one or more facility persons competent in first aid techniques should be at the facility when one or more children are in care. Arguably, the best scenario would be that all the facility persons who work there are trained and certified in first aid and CPR skills.
Who Else Needs Pediatric Emergency Training?
Besides workers and operators of child care facilities, there are other members of society who would greatly benefit from pediatric emergency fist aid and CPR training. One of these are youth sport coaches. Currently, sport coaches are only required to have completed a concussion management certification training course. However, a recent survey indicated that about 40% of coaches in the United States have not taken any type of training. Many do not even carry a first aid kit to practices or games. The survey also revealed that 43% feel only fairly knowledgeable on sports safety. It’s incredibly easy for kids to get hurt during sports activities and with pediatric first aid and CPR training, coaches would feel much more confident in their skills if such an issue arose, as they are bound to at some point.
Youth organizations, including Boy/Girl Scouts of America should have leaders who are trained in first aid and CPR. Certain Boy Scout trips, for example, to the popular Philmont Scout Ranch, requires a set number of leaders to have first aid and CPR training in order to take their scouts to the Ranch. The Girl Scouts have a list designating the safety requirements necessary in order to allow the scouts to participate in a certain activity which may or may not include first aid or CPR training for the troop leaders supervising the activity.
Paramedics and EMTs do not run very many pediatric emergency calls as compared to adult ones, which, although you may think they might not need such training in that case, it does mean they are not as up to date on their technical skills regarding basic life support for children. It is highly recommended that they take courses focusing on pediatric first aid and CPR in order to be prepared for the occasional pediatric emergency.
The course lasts for approximately 5-6 hours and covers a range of important topics, including the course of action during an emergency, CPR and the use of an AED, bleeding and wound care, bone, muscle, brain and spine injuries and more. Certification lasts for two years.
Goals of First Aid
- Keep the child alive
- Prevent the condition from getting worse
- Encourage recovery from the injury or illness
- Secure professional medical care when necessary
- Keep the child calm while providing the first aid care
The course covers how to achieve the goals stated above given almost any emergency situation regarding the care of a child. In addition, students are taught how to protect themselves from an infection or harm when providing first aid. Special situations are also noted, for example when using the AED or giving CPR. Students are able to practice providing CPR compressions and breaths on their own in order to learn the technical skill right away. First Aid hands-on practice includes applying bandages, EpiPen injection, positioning a victim in a recovery position and relieving choking in infants.
Karl Environmental — National Safety Council Course
Karl Environmental Group, located in Reading, PA is happy to offer National Safety Council Pediatric First Aid, CPR and AED training classes. Our certified instructors will provide you with the National Safety Council manual, video instruction and professional hands-on instruction of the skills mentioned above. If you are a child care provider or any other member of society who would benefit from taking Pediatric First Aid and CPR training, do not hesitate to give us a call and schedule a class.