Toilets and bathrooms, janitorial closets, and rooms with utility sinks or where wet mops and chemicals are stored should be mechanically ventilated to the outdoors with local exhaust mechanical ventilation to control and remove odors in accordance with local building codes. Air fresheners or sanitizers both manmade and natural should not be used. The heater cord should be inaccessible to children as well. To prevent burns or potential fires, consideration must be given to the ages and activity levels of children in care and the amount of space in a room.
Alternative methods of heating may be safer for children. Baseboard electric heaters are cooler than radiant portable heaters, but still hot enough to burn a child if touched. If portable electric space heaters are used, electrical circuits must not be overloaded. Portable electric space heaters are usually plugged into a regular volt electric outlet connected to a fifteen-ampere circuit breaker.
A circuit breaker is an overload switch that prevents the current in a given electric circuit from exceeding the capacity of a line. Fuses perform the same function in older systems. If too many appliances are plugged into a circuit, calling for more power than the capacity of the circuit, the breaker reacts by switching off the circuit. Constantly overloaded electrical circuits can cause electrical fires.
If a circuit breaker is continuously switching the electric power off, reduce the load to the circuit before manually resetting the circuit breaker more than one outlet may be connected to a single circuit breaker. If the problem persists, stop using the circuit and consult an electrical inspector or electrical contractor.
Testing for nitrate is especially important if there are infants under six months of age in care. Drinking water, including water in drinking fountains, should be tested and evaluated in accordance with the assistance of the local health authority or state drinking water program to determine whether lead and copper levels are safe. It is especially important to test and have safe water at child care facilities because of the amount of time children spend in these facilities.
Cold water is less likely to leach lead from the plumbing. Contact your local health department or state drinking water program for information on how to collect samples and for advice on frequency of testing. See also the EPA references below. Facilities should adopt an integrated pest management program IPM to ensure long-term, environmentally sound pest suppression through a range of practices including pest exclusion, sanitation and clutter control, and elimination of conditions that are conducive to pest infestations.
IPM is a simple, common-sense approach to pest management that eliminates the root causes of pest problems, providing safe and effective control of insects, weeds, rodents, and other pests while minimizing risks to human health and the environment 2,4. Pest Prevention: Facilities should prevent pest infestations by ensuring sanitary conditions. This can be done by eliminating pest breeding areas, filling in cracks and crevices; holes in walls, floors, ceilings and water leads; repairing water damage; and removing clutter and rubbish on the premises 5.
Pest Monitoring: Facilities should establish a program for regular pest population monitoring and should keep records of pest sightings and sightings of indicators of the presence of pests e.
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Pesticide Use: If physical intervention fails to prevent pest infestations, facility managers should ensure that targeted, rather than broadcast applications of pesticides are made, beginning with the products that pose least exposure hazard first, and always using a pesticide applicator who has the licenses or certifications required by state and local laws. Facility managers should follow all instructions on pesticide product labels and should not apply any pesticide in a manner inconsistent with label instructions.
Safety Data Sheets SDS are available from the product manufacturer or a licensed exterminator and should be on file at the facility Facilities should ensure that pesticides are never applied when children are present and that re-entry periods are adhered to. Facilities should avoid the use of sprays and other volatilizing pesticide formulations.
Pesticides should be applied in a manner that prevents skin contact and any other exposure to children or staff members and minimizes odors in occupied areas. Care should be taken to ensure that pesticide applications do not result in pesticide residues accumulating on tables, toys, and items mouthed or handled by children, or on soft surfaces such as carpets, upholstered furniture, or stuffed animals with which children may come in direct contact 3.
Following the use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or other potentially toxic chemicals, the treated area should be ventilated for the period recommended on the product label. A member of the child care staff should directly observe the application to be sure that toxic chemicals are not applied on surfaces with which children or staff may come in contact.
Warning Signs: Child care facilities must post warning signs at each area where pesticides will be applied. These signs must be posted forty-eight hours before and seventy-two hours after applications and should be sufficient to restrict uninformed access to treated areas.
Record Keeping: Child care facilities should keep records of pesticide use at the facility and make the records available to anyone who asks. Record retention requirements vary by state, but federal law requires records to be kept for two years 7. It is a good idea to retain records for a minimum of three years.
Pesticide Storage: Pesticides should be stored in their original containers and in a locked room or cabinet accessible only to authorized staff. No restricted-use pesticides should be stored or used on the premises except by properly licensed persons. Banned, illegal, and unregistered pesticides should not be used. Child care staff should ask to see the license of the pest management professional and should be certain that the individual who applies the toxic chemicals has personally been trained and preferably, individually licensed, i.
Child care staff should contact their state pesticide office and request that their child care facility be added to the state pesticide sensitivity list, in states where such a list exists. When a child care facility is placed on the state pesticide sensitivity list, the child care staff will be notified if there are plans for general pesticide application occurring near the child care facility.
For possible poison exposure, contact the local poison center at Radon concentrations inside a home or building used for child care must be less than four picocuries pCi per liter of air. All facilities must be tested for the presence of radon, according to U. Radon testing should be conducted after a major renovation to the building or HVAC system 1,2. Common test kits include: charcoal canisters, e-perm, alpha track detectors, and charcoal liquid scintillation devices. Poisonous or potentially harmful plants are prohibited in any part of a child care facility that is accessible to children.
All plants not known to be nontoxic should be identified and checked by name with the local poison center to determine safe use. In all centers, both exterior and interior surfaces covered by paint with lead levels of 0. In large and small family child care homes, flaking or deteriorating lead-based paint on any surface accessible to children should be removed or abated according to health department regulations.
Where lead paint is removed, the surface should be refinished with lead-free paint or nontoxic material. Sanding, scraping, or burning of lead-based paint surfaces should be prohibited. Children and pregnant women should not be present during lead renovation or lead abatement activities. Any surface and the grounds around and under surfaces that children use at a child care facility, including dirt and grassy areas should be tested for excessive lead in a location designated by the health department.
If they are found to have toxic levels, corrective action should be taken to prevent exposure to lead at the facility. Only nontoxic paints should be used. Some imported vinyl mini-blinds contain lead and can deteriorate from exposure to sunlight and heat and form lead dust on the surface of the blinds 1. The U. Consumer Product Safety Commission CPSC recommends that consumers with children six years of age and younger remove old vinyl mini-blinds and replace them with new mini-blinds made without added lead or with alternative window coverings.
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See Comments for resources. Lead is a neurotoxin. In buildings where lead has been removed from the surfaces, lead paint may have contaminated surrounding soil.
Therefore, the soil in play areas around these buildings should be tested. Outdoor play equipment was commonly painted with lead-based paints, too. These structures and the soil around them should be checked if they are not known to be lead-free. Children nine months through five years of age are at the greatest risk for lead poisoning.
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Most children with lead poisoning do not look or act sick. A blood lead test is the only way to know if children are being lead poisoned. The EPA also has a pamphlet called Finding a Qualified Lead Professional for Your Home , which provides information on how to identify qualified lead inspectors and risk assessors. Adults and children should remove or cover shoes before entering a play area used by a specific group of infants.
These individuals, as well as the infants playing in that area, may wear shoes, shoe covers, or socks that are used only in the play area for that group of infants. This standard applies to shoes that have been worn outdoors, in the play areas of other groups of children, and in toilet and diaper changing areas. All of these locations are potential sources of contamination.
Clean toilet and handwashing facilities should be located in the best place to meet the developmental needs of children. For infant areas, toilets and handwashing facilities are for adult rather than child use. They should be located within the infant area to reduce staff absence. For toddler areas, toilet and handwashing facilities should be located in or adjacent to the toddler rooms. For preschool and school-age children, toilet and handwashing facilities should be located near the entrance to the group room and near the entrance to the playground.
If both entrances are close to each other, then only one set of toilet and handwashing facilities is needed.
Toilet rooms should have barriers that prevent entry by infants and toddlers who are unattended. Infants and toddlers should be supervised by sight and sound at all times. The facility or home should be equipped with an outdoor play area that directly adjoins the indoor facilities or that can be reached by a route that is free of hazards and is no farther than one-eighth mile from the facility.
The playground should comprise a minimum of seventy-five square feet for each child using the playground at any one time. The following exceptions to the space requirements should apply:. There should be separated areas for play for the following ages of children:. The outdoor playground should include an open space for running that is free of other equipment 4.
Providing more square feet per child may correspond to a decrease in the number of injuries associated with gross motor play equipment 1.
In addition, meeting proposed Americans with Disabilities Act ADA outdoor play area requirements for accessible routes, and developing natural, outdoor play yards with variety and shade can only be achieved if sufficient outdoor play space is provided. This follows the developmental ages used for the development of the Standards for play equipment for children.
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Additional space beyond the standard of seventy-five square feet per child may be required to meet ADA outdoor play area requirements, depending on the layout and terrain 3. If a facility has less than seventy-five square feet of accessible outdoor space per child or provides active play space indoors for other reasons, a large indoor activity room that meets the requirement for seventy-five square feet per child may be used if it meets the following requirements:.
Qualified heating and air conditioning contractors should have a meter to measure the rate of airflow.