Online Program

Children’s environmental exposures in early learning: Preventing harm through emerging resources, updated standards and state and national initiatives

Tuesday, November 3, 2015: 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Environmental health in early learning environments can significantly impact a child’s health, wellbeing, and ability to learn. Emerging science is linking chemicals commonly found in children’s early environments to asthma, lower IQ, developmental disabilities, and other health problems. Research finds that these conditions can be caused, worsened, or contributed to by environmental exposures. Children are particularly at risk from environmental chemicals because their systems are still developing. Their behaviors, such as hand to mouth and crawling on the floor, increase their exposure. Studies of the health impacts of environmental exposures are finding more harm than expected. Environmental health has been ignored or only peripherally acknowledged by the field of Early Care and Learning. Public policy is a critical tool for reducing environmental exposures in child care facilities. Integrating this information into Early Care and Learning policies and practices will result in better outcomes for children. Until recently, environmental health was not adequately addressed in child care licensing, quality rating improvement systems, accreditation or professional development. Policies and best practices are emerging to correct this critical omission. Attend this session to learn about how environmental health is becoming a key priority area within the departments of the federal government (ATSDR), legal groups (Environmental Law Institute), state Quality Rating Improvement Systems (PA’s Keystone Stars), national accreditation programs (the Association for Early Learning Leaders) and by child care institutions (National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education). Get an update on environmental health policy initiatives in the child care world and resources to support you in bringing environmental health to child care and early learning settings and practitioners. Participants will leave with a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities of working in this unique environment and will be asked to share their relevant experiences and concerns. An overview of emerging state and institutional policies, resources and pilot programs that aim to improve environmental health conditions in child care facilities will be presented.
Session Objectives: 1. Describe the populations of infants and young children who are in child care and are most at risk of exposures to environmental hazards. 2. Examine recent successes and current efforts to incorporate environmental health into child care policies and practices through Health in All Policies (HiAP) collaborative projects. 3. Discuss key environmental health reports, standards and policies recently created to improve the environmental health in and around child care facilities. 4. Identify steps to engage child care professionals and organizations to help bring these efforts and resources to a larger audience.

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Organized by: Environment
Endorsed by: Ethics, Occupational Health and Safety, APHA-Committee on Women's Rights

See more of: Environment