Child Care and Daycare Centres

Licensed child care centres include centres that have five or more children. Good infection-prevention practices at these organizations are essential to protect against spreading illness and infections.

"Safe and Healthy Children: A Public Health Resource Manual for Child Care Providers" is a resource for child care providers in Waterloo Region. It is important that child care providers and staff are aware of these various requirements and information to ensure children in their care are safe and healthy. Check the manual's topics/chapters below:

Preventing Illness

Children in a child care centre are more likely to get an infection because they:

  • Are still developing their immune systems
  • Have personal hygiene challenges and are still learning good practices
  • Interact closely and often with one another

Child care providers can prevent illness by:

  • Promoting frequent and thorough hand-washing

Many infections are spread person-to-person by our hands. Infection can be spread before showing symptoms of being ill and after you have stopped showing symptoms.

Washing your hands is one of the best ways to prevent viruses from spreading.

Wash your hands:

  • Before preparing, serving or eating food
  • After using the washroom
  • After coughing and/or sneezing

Children should be reminded to wash their hands throughout the day. Visitors should take the same precautions to protect themselves, relatives and friends.

All staff and visitors should wash hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before entering and exiting the facility.

Visitors should be reminded not to visit if they are ill and to wash their hands before and after caring for a child. 

Managing Illnesses and Outbreaks

Child care providers provide an important role in identifying early signs and symptoms of illness in children and staff. It is important to document all symptoms of illness accurately. If there is an increase in the number of children with the same symptoms or if there are any unusual symptoms, this information can be used to help determine if an outbreak is starting.

If you suspect that an outbreak may start, call Public Health to report the activity at 519-575-4400

In the event of an outbreak of an infectious illness (fever, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.) there will be additional measures that must be taken to limit or prevent the spread of illness at a child care centre. These measures include:

  • Separating ill children from well children
  • Excluding ill children and staff from attending the centre until they are well.
  • Restrictions on group activities
  • Additional cleaning and sanitizing procedures

For information on recognizing an illness or infection, review Public Health's Managing Infections Guidelines. Also, see Gastrointestinal Outbreak Information for Parents and Caregivers


The Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA) requires that all infants and children attending a child care centre by fully immunized as recommended by the Medical Officer of Health. In Waterloo Region this includes:

  • Diphtheria
  • Haemophilus Influenza type B
  • Measles
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Mumps
  • Pertussis
  • Pneumococcal disease
  • Polio
  • Rubella
  • Tetanus
  • Varicella (chicken pox)

Each child care centre is responsible for ensuring that the immunizations for each child enrolled in the centre are up-to-date as well as the collection and reporting of information to Public Health.

Each centre is required to keep a record of immunization on file and forward a copy to Public Health.

Child care providers and staff are also required to have up-to-date immunization and to be screened for tuberculosis. Both forms must be completed and kept on site.

Request a copy of the Influenza Immunization Decision Making Tool.

For complete information on the health standards required at child care centres, please review the Immunization and Other Pre-Entrance Requirements.

Additional Resources

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