questionIf a child care provider accidentally feeds a child a bottle of breast milk from a different mother, what steps should be taken according to licensing regulations and best practices?

answerFeeding the wrong breast milk to an infant usually has no consequences whatsoever, but it is a serious error that should be treated as a ‘blood-borne pathogens event’ because the consequences are potentially dangerous. Parents are not required to disclose certain illnesses to child care centers due to privacy laws. So, the breast milk may carry a pathogen. Child care centers are expected to know from blood-borne pathogens training, which is required annually, that exposure to blood, breast milk, fecal matter, or other bodily fluids is potentially a health threat, and there should be a contingency in the facility’s Exposure Control Plan.

If it occurs, the center should notify parents as per regulation 114-503 D(2)(i) which says parents should be notified if a legal or health issue occurs which will impact the health and safety of their child. Once parents are notified, they can decide whether or not the infant receiving the milk was placed at risk by the transmission of an undisclosed pathogen, and the child can be referred for appropriate medical response.