Everyone wants a healthy environment for our children. We need to know what environmental conditions or contaminants threaten children in different settings, including child care. A recent report was released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The report is called “America’s Children and the Environment” or “ACE.” The ACE report provides details about exposures to a broad range of environmental stressors that can affect children’s health.

The EPA has a new Safer Choice label program available at www2.epa.gov/saferchoiceThis label will help consumers find safer cleaning products. Manufacturers can use the new label only if the EPA Scientists determine that every ingredient in the product is safe for humans and pets, meets environmental standards, and cleans well. As of April 29, 2015, the EPA has authorized use of the new Safer Choice label on over 2000 cleaning products. Look for the label when purchasing products for your early childhood or school age program.  Also, you can search online for products that meet the Safer Choice Standard at http://www2.epa.gov/saferchoice/products 5/2015

This workshop uses a game approach to teach appropriate response to common illnesses. The content includes myths and facts about childhood illnesses and when temporarily ill children need to be excluded from their group. Includes distribution of current reference materials and the opportunity to practice using them. The reference for the discussion is Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools, a publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Handouts include some of the tables and Quick Reference Sheets from this book.

Common diapering errors can often lead to cross contamination in the early learning environment.  Addressing these 12 common errors properly will help reduce the spread of germs while diapering. Updated 5/2012

Click on the title for the link to download a fully Illustrated, step-by-step, up to date, tri-fold Diapering Poster. The poster shows the procedure for safe and sanitary diapering. The same steps apply to changing soiled underwear with the child lying down, a position that makes it easier to avoid contamination of the environment and proper cleaning of the child's skin. CCA Global created the poster with guidance from the staff of ECELS. The Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children (DVAEYC) facilitated the arrangement. CCA Global is DVAEYC’s provider of shared services.  Reproduce and distribute the poster freely to child care professionals. Be sure to retain the citation and copyright. The poster may not be sold without permission from CCA Global. The source of the steps in the poster is the May 2013 updated online standards in Caring for Our Children, 3rd Edition, a publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, and the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education. Updated 12/2013.

The attached ECELS Health and Safety Checklist includes references. It was updated December 2011 as Version 1.4. This tool guides the user to the appropriate national health and safety standard(s) and other related references for each item. Each item is cross-referenced with corresponding topics from: Caring for Our Children:  National Health and Safety Performance Standards, 3rd Edition, 2011 (CFOC) , the Environmental Rating Scales (ITERS-R, Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale - Revised Edition; ECERS-R, Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale - Revised Edition); and the Pennsylvania Child Care Facility Licensing Regulations.

Pennsylvania (PA) is giving high priority to environmental health in early learning programs. In 2010, the Heinz Endowments gave a generous grant to PA’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) for an environmental health initiative. The grant funds the PA Early Childhood Education (ECE) Healthy & Green Initiative.

The Environmental Health Self - Learning Module is temporarily removed for updates. Consider using the ECELS Indoor Air Qualilty or Pest Management Self-Learning Modules as alternatives.  8/2016 

This set of model environmental health policies is a cross-walk based on the Eco-Healthy Child Care (c) Checklist items, matched for each topic with the corresponding fact sheets, Pennsylvania Reference Sheets and Caring for Our Children, 3rd edition standards. The PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics adapted the text of these policies from the corresponding text in Model Child Care Health Policies, 5th edition, 2013. The document was prepared as a tool for the Pennsylvania Healthy & Green initiative implementedby the PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning. 7/25/2013

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows safer products to use the Design for the Environment (DfE) label on products that help protect the environment and are safer to use. The DfE scientific review team has screened each ingredient in these products for potential harmful effects on humans and the environment. Based on what is known, the product contains the least harmful ingredients among chemicals of the type used for the purpose for which the product is being sold. The EPA lists products on its website that have met the DfE criteria. 12/2012