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April is Learning & Care Settings and Children’s Health Month
Where are children when they are not at home? Approximately 66 million children in the U.S. spend a significant portion of their time in schools or child care facilities. What do we know of the environmental health and safety of these settings? Find out from our partners, Healthy Schools Network and the American Public Health Association (APHA), by clicking on their logos below!
Children's health and the environmental
conditions of our schools
Early learning and care environments
and children’s health
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What can individuals and organizations do to prevent harmful childhood exposures and promote wellness in learning and care settings?
1. Organize a day of action for children in a local school or child care program. Ideas for parents and/or teachers include:
- Add a children’s health issue to your school board meeting or PTA meeting. For example, is there mold in classrooms or portable buildings? Has the school’s drinking water been tested for lead?
- Start or improve a recycling or composting program at your child’s school.
- Send materials home with students on ways families can protect themselves. Fact Sheets and other helpful resources are available for child care setting at: cehn.org/ehcc and for schools at: http://www.healthyschools.org/clearinghouse.html.
2. Encourage the development of a child health protective standard in your community (no idling zone, green cleaning in child care centers, etc.)
3. Arrange a meeting focused on children's environmental health in learning and care settings with a school board, city/county council, or your state legislators. Make sure to bring copies of APHA’s policy statement about schools and children’s health to share.
- Eco-Healthy Child Care® is a program that helps child care professionals create safe and healthy environments for the children in their care. You can download free topical factsheets and FAQs, from the site, and even encourage your child’s care provider to take a fun, interactive 3 hour e-learning course or to be become eco-healthy endorsed!
- Healthy Schools/Healthy Kids Clearinghouse is a collection of resources on children’s environmental health in school settings developed and curated by the Healthy Schools Network. You can find helpful toolkits for green cleaning and for finding healthy products for schools.
- Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education is a program created by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to encourage thoughtful consideration about where to locate early care and education programs. It gives towns, cities, and states a framework to adopt practices that will make sure these programs are located away from chemical hazards.