Brochure that describes the role of a sanitarian or food safety consultant for early education and child care programs. Reviewed and reaffirmed 11/2012
When children are in a hot environment, they can get heat-related illness. The most common problem is dehydration.
Young children have more body surface area per pound of body weight than older children and adults. They get hot more easily and lose water faster by sweating than older children and adults.
Overheating may make people very thirsty. Other signs of heat-related illness include feeling very tired, headaches, stomachaches, fever and breathing faster than usual.
Children can die when left in a vehicle. When the outside temperature is 80 degrees, the inside of a vehicle will reach nearly 110 degrees in 20 minutes. It will be hotter than 120 degrees in 60 minutes. These temperatures can kill children.
Make sure that vehicle cooling systems work well. Check every seat in the vehicle before leaving it. Be sure that no child is left behind.
Arrange for a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) professional to check your system. Have this service annually, preferably before the hot summer months. A tune-up of the HVAC system can save money and make everyone more comfortable. Schedule another check of the system in the late fall, before the heating season.
Children are more at risk than adults to the effects of lead because their brains are still growing. Lead exposure can cause problems with the brain. This may lead to learning difficulties and behavior problems. There is no safe level of lead exposure for children. Sources of lead can include old paint, contaminated dust and soil, and water in lead pipes. The most important step is to prevent lead exposure before it occurs.
Children are especially at risk of lead exposure if they:
• live in the inner city or in poverty
• live in a home built before 1978
• have poor nutrition
Early care and education programs can help prevent and reduce lead exposure in the following ways:
Lead damages brain and other body tissues. Even low levels of exposure can irreversibly reduce a child’s ability to learn. Lead can cause challenging behaviors too. Chips and dust from old lead-based paint is the main source for childhood lead poisoning. Just a little wear and tear inside or outside an old building can loosen lead paint dust or chips. Lead can be in room dust and in soil around buildings. The hand-to-mouth activities of young children make them very vulnerable.
The PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatrics published the 5th edition of Model Child Care Health Policies in October 2013. Significantly revised and updated, the new edition is a practical tool for adoption and implementation of best practices for health and safety in group care settings for young children. This edition replaces the previously published version and updates of individual policies that were posted on the ECELS website. ECELS encourages early education and child care professionals to adapt the model policies as site-specific documents that fit their programs. Two formats are available: one replicates the hard copy publication. The other format, posted 12-12-2014, has form fields that allow users to insert their site-specific details directly into the PDF document.
Molds grow quickly in moist areas. They are a potent cause of allergy symptoms. Quick response to moisture collections is key. Clean up mold and moisture on hard surfaces with water and a detergent, then dry the surfaces so no moisture remains. Remove surfaces that cannot be completely cleaned.
Pay attention to the humidity of the air. Hardware stores sell inexpensive devices that measure humidity levels. Aim for an indoor humidity between 30% and 60%. Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air. Use them where needed to keep humidity in the healthful range. For more information about how to safely clean mold and manage moisture in educational facilities, go to the Environmental Protection Agency website: http://www.epa.gov/mold/index.html. Some of the materials are available in Spanish as well as in English.*
Take a look at the National Center’s Health Tips (Fact Sheets) for Families* (and teachers): Download an individual one page fact sheets when you need a handout on one of the topics or download the complete series in English [PDF, 1.2MB] and Spanish (español) [PDF, 309KB]* The following topic are available as handouts:
Active Play includes tips to help infants, toddlers and preschoolers develop positive active play behaviors.
Health Literacy provides information about how to understand and use health information that doctors and other health professionals give.
Healthy Breathing provides information about eliminating first-hand, second-hand and third-hand exposure to tobacco smoke.
Healthy Eating offers easy tips to help infants, toddlers and preschool-age children learn healthy eating.
Mental Health provides information about how to help infants, toddlers and preschoolers develop positive mental health behaviors.
Oral Health offers tips to promote oral health in infancy through preschool age.
Safety and Injury Prevention: Tips for Families (2 pages) provides easy tips families can use to ensure their children's health and safety at home, outside, in the water, and in a car or truck.
Dealing with Stress is a 4 page guide with simply stated, clear tips to help cope with stress in a healthy way.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a food label to tell consumers that the producer of the food meets certain standards. Some multi-ingredient products with USDA Organic labels specify which ingredients have been certified organic according to the USDA standards. The standard for use of the USDA Organic label requires that the producer not use synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, or genetic engineering. To enforce the standards, the USDA inspects the production of foods that use the label.
Food labeled USDA Organic may or may not be healthful. There is no evidence that foods are necessarily less healthful if grown with synthetic fertilizers or properly aged sewage sludge. Irradiation of food kills germs. No radiation remains in the foods. Foods produced by genetic engineering may grow better and produce quality product sooner than if the producer waited to select plants from natural mutations. How a food is grown and packaged is not the only way to decide whether the food is healthful. The time between picking and selling foods can affect the quality of any food. Contamination or improper storage of any food may occur on the way from harvest to the seller.