Flu Season is Here

Influenza is an contagious infection of the nose, throat and lungs, which are part of the respiratory system. Influenza is commonly called the flu. It can cause mild to severe illness. Some people, such as young children, older people and people with certain health conditions are at high risk for serious flu complications.

Visit the New Jersey Department of Health website for guidance on dealing with respiratory outbreaks in child care settings. 

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Infection

Respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus, or RSV, is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) RSV in Infants and Young Children website for what the symptoms of RSV to look for and what to do if if your child is at high risk for severe RSV infection.

Disaster Preparedness Resources

Prepare yourself and your family by creating an emergency supply kit and a basic preparedness plan. Your kit should include items that will help you stay self-sufficient and your plan should include evacuation plans, a place to reunite with loved ones and an out-of-state contact person.

Be sure you have a phone charger and keep your phone charged at all times. You can sign up to follow NJOEM and receive text/email alerts from the National Weather Service:

The CDC has information on dealing with natural disasters for expecting parents, new parents and caregivers of infants. Visit their Natural Disaster Safety for Expecting and New Parents pages for more information. 
Download the PDF
Use this 10-page printable kit from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help you with key disaster planning steps. 

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

General Information
CDC's COVID-19 website
NJ COVID Infomation Hub
NJ Department of Health COVID-19 website

Guidance for Parents
Though typically resilient to everyday stressors, children and youth are dealing with new challenges due to COVID-19, like changes to their routines and a lost sense of security and safety, making them especially vulnerable to feeling stressed, anxious or depressed. Trauma faced at this developmental stage can continue to affect them across their lifespan. You know your children best. Let their questions be your guide as to how much information to provide. Be patient. Children do not always talk about their concerns readily. Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the dishes or yard work. It is very typical for younger children to ask a few questions, return to playing, then come back to ask more questions.

The CDC developed a COVID-19 Parental Resource Kit to help support parents, caregivers and other adults serving children and young people in recognizing children and young people’s social, emotional and mental health challenges and helping to ensure their well-being. You can view these resources on the CDC website

If you get help paying for child care, you can find specific information on how COVID-19 affects your child care assistance benefits on our Child Care Assistance Program page.

Guidance for Providers
More resources for child care providers are available on the New Jersey Department of Children and Families and Department of Health websites. 

Resources for COVID-19 Related Health and Safety Requirement Implementation
Visit Website | Download the PDF 
COVID-19 Precautions Door Sign English | Spanish
Topics include mental health and social-emotional resources, face coverings, social distancing, hand washing, sanitizing surfaces, infection spread, using gloves, diapering and changing, and self-care for providers. Note that this guidance does not supersede New Jersey state requirements, but instead provides best practices for implementation. There are frequent updates to health and safety guidelines and regulations regarding COVID-19.
Quality Initiatives Funded Through DHS/DFD
Download the PDF
If you are providing child care services during this time, you are not alone! Support and resources are available through the joint efforts of Montclair State University, the Central Jersey Family Health Consortium and the Statewide Network for New Jersey’s Afterschool Communities (NJSACC).

National Webinars and Resources
There are many national resources available to support best practices on implementing care in response to COVID-19. Please visit the links below for more information.
National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness – Ask the Expert Services
Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance System
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Recorded Webinars

Baby Formula Shortage

Keeping Infants Safe During the Formula Shortage

  • Never dilute formula.
  • Avoid homemade formula.
  • Contact your health care provider about alternate formula options or before using cow’s milk.
  • Use of substitute formulas is OK most of the time.
  • Talk to your pediatrician.

Learn more on the USDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services websites.

Health and Safety Basics

Additional resources for health and safety basics: