Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering an online series for early childhood professionals interested in becoming endorsed as an Eco-Healthy Child Care program. The three-session series begins Jan. 8, says Malisa Rader, a human sciences specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
Eco-Healthy Child Care is a national program that seeks to improve the environmental health of children by partnering with child care professionals to eliminate or reduce environmental health hazards found in child care facilities, Rader said.
“As Hester Paul, the program’s national director, says, we must protect young children from exposure to common environmental health hazards found within child care facilities. Their bodies are growing and developing at a rapid rate, so they are especially vulnerable to the effects of toxicants,” Rader said.
“The Eco-Healthy Child Care program creates healthier environments in and around child care facilities, and in doing so, creates healthier kids,” Rader added.
“Created by the Children’s Environmental Health Network, this research-based course offers practical and feasible ways for family and center child care providers to provide a healthy and safe early childhood environment,” said Rader.
More than 2,800 child care facilities throughout the U.S. as well as a few in Australia, Canada, India and the United Kingdom have been EHCC endorsed, reaching more than 147,000 children. The endorsement checklist consists of 30 items describing environmentally safe practices for center-based and family child care facilities. Topics include lead, mercury, pesticide use, treated playground equipment, art supplies, plastics, radon and more.