What Immunizations Are Required for Preschool?

Which vaccines are mandatory for your child to enroll at Little Sunshine’s Playhouse & Preschool®? 

Since their introduction, vaccines have reduced the number of vaccine-preventable illnesses by 90%, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Thanks to their success rate, immunizations are now required for preschool in many states.

All Little Sunshine’s Playhouse® locations are licensed by the state in which they operate, and mandated immunizations vary by state. Be sure to ask which vaccines are required before enrolling your child. 

As with all health-related issues, talk to your child’s pediatrician about vaccines. Find out when each dose should be taken and how many doses are needed. Ask whether your child is at risk of side effects.

To help you out, we’ve put together a recommended vaccination schedule for most healthy kids from birth to 6 years of age.

Hepatitis (B and A)

Hepatitis B is the first vaccine babies should receive. It protects against serious liver infection and follows a 3-dose schedule. Giving the first dose within 24 hours of birth reduces the risk of transmission from mother to child or from other infected individuals.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends the following dosage schedule for the Hepatitis B vaccine: 

  • 1st dose: At birth
  • 2nd dose: 1-2 months
  • 3rd dose: 6-18 months

Hepatitis A is another serious infection of the liver. Children under 6 years old often have no symptoms but they can pass the virus to others. 

  • The Hepatitis A vaccine is given in a 2-dose series between 12 and 23 months of age. The second dose should be given 6 months after the first.


The rotavirus vaccine protects against the most common cause of diarrhea and vomiting in infants and young kids. Rotavirus is also the most common cause of hospitalization of infants and young children due to vomiting or diarrhea. 

The rotavirus vaccine is given as a 2- or 3-dose series, depending on which version your pediatrician uses: 

  • 2-dose schedule: 
    • 1st dose: 2 months
    • 2nd dose: 4 months
  • 3-dose schedule: 
    • 1st dose: 2 months
    • 2nd dose: 4 months
    • 3rd dose: 6 months

DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis)

The DTaP vaccine protects against three potentially deadly bacterial infections:

  • Diphtheria is a highly contagious respiratory disease that is spread by coughing and sneezing. In addition to breathing problems, it can cause paralysis, heart failure and death. 
  • Tetanus, also called lockjaw, is caused by bacteria found in soil. It can attack the nervous system, leading to muscle spasms and death. 
  • Pertussis, also called whooping cough, causes intense coughing spasms that can interfere with eating, drinking and breathing. Possible complications include seizures, brain damage and death.

The CDC recommends the following vaccination schedule for DTaP:

  • 1st dose: 2 months
  • 2nd dose: 4 months
  • 3rd dose: 6 months
  • 4th dose: 15-18 months
  • 5th dose: 4-6 years

Hib (Haemophilus Influenza Type B)

“Hib” stands for Haemophilus Influenza Type B

In spite of its name, Hib is not the flu. It is actually an infection that was once the most common cause of bacterial meningitis. The disease can attack the brain and spinal cord, resulting in fever, cognitive impairment, coma and death.

The Hib vaccine follows a 4-dose schedule: 

  • 1st dose: 2 months
  • 2nd dose: 4 months
  • 3rd dose: 6 months
  • 4th dose: 12-15 months

Pneumococcal Conjugate

Pneumococcal disease is a bacterial infection that can cause meningitis, blood infections and ear infections. It can affect the lungs, blood and brain. 

The vaccine is given over a 4-dose schedule: 

  • 1st dose: 2 months
  • 2nd does: 4 months
  • 3rd dose: 6 months
  • 4th dose: 12-15 months

Inactivated Poliovirus

Poliomyelitis is a serious viral infection that can cause paralysis and even death. It affected thousands of children before the 1950s, when the vaccine was introduced. Today, the disease is very rare thanks to the vaccine. 

The following 4-dose schedule is recommended: 

  • 1st dose: 2 months
  • 2nd dose: 4 months
  • 3rd dose: 6-18 months
  • 4th dose: 4-6 years

Influenza (IIV or LAIV)

This is the seasonal flu vaccine that doctors recommend for most children and adults

Because the virus changes every year, immunization is required on an annual basis. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children receive the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) or the flu shot. Studies have found that it is more effective than the so-called “flu mist,” (LAIV) which is given as a nasal spray.

  • Children should receive the flu vaccine once a year starting at 6 months of age.

MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella)

The MMR vaccine protects your child against three serious viral infections.

  • Measles causes a rash that covers the whole body. It may also cause fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes. Complications may include ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia and death.
  • The mumps virus causes swollen and tender salivary glands and muscle aches. Other symptoms include fever, tiredness and loss of appetite. It may lead to deafness, swelling of brain and spinal cord coverings, and in rare cases, death.
  • Rubella causes sore throat, fever, rash, headache and eye irritation. In pregnant women, it can lead to miscarriage or birth defects. It may also cause arthritis in teenage girls and women.

Two doses of the MMR vaccine are recommended:

  • 1st dose: 12-15 months
  • 2nd dose: 4-6 years

Varicella (Chickenpox)

The Varicella vaccine protects against chickenpox. Complications of chickenpox include flesh-eating strep, staph toxic shock, and encephalitis which is an infection of the brain. 

The vaccine is given in two doses: 

  • 1st dose: 12-15 months
  • 2nd dose: 4-6 months

In addition to these early childhood immunizations, there are other vaccines recommended for older children and adults. Talk to your child’s pediatrician and your own doctor to make sure the whole family stays up-to-date.

At Little Sunshine’s Playhouse®, we go the extra mile to provide a healthy learning environment for all of our students and teachers.

If you have questions about required immunizations and other health and safety policies, please contact a location near you today!

Previous blog posts:

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Enjoy the Pool with Child Water Safety Rules from Little Sunshine’s Playhouse® 

5 Essentials for Preschool Playground Safety