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The 2010 U.S. Surgeon General's Report makes it clear that there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. Parents and caregivers are the main sources of tobacco smoke exposure to children. Child care centers have an opportunity to help decrease secondhand smoke exposure to both children and caregivers by implementing a Tobacco-Free Policy. Healthy starts with you! WellSpot designation requires child care centers to implement a Tobacco-Free Policy at all levels of designation. For sample policies and tips for implementing in your center, visit the provided resources.
Go NAPSACC (Nutrition And Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care) is an evidence-based online tool for improving the health of young children through practices, policies, and environments that instill habits supporting lifelong health and well-being. The program allows providers to focus on any of seven best practice modules which include: child nutrition, breastfeeding, farm to ECE, oral health, physical activity, outdoor play and learning, and screen time.
For more information on Go NAPSACC or to be connected to a Go NAPSACC consultant in your area, email Well-Ahead Louisiana at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Healthy eating is necessary for healthy development. That’s why it’s important to offer children healthy food choices; options that will nurture their bodies and fuel brain development. Children form lifelong eating habits based on the foods served to them when they are young. But it’s not just about the foods served — healthy eating habits are influenced by the entire mealtime experience, as well as other learning activities involving food like gardening and taste tests. To learn more about how centers can nurture healthy eaters, visit Nemours' Healthy Kids. Healthy Future or Go NAPSACC.
More and more evidence shows that children who are active tend to have fewer behavioral and disciplinary problems, do better in school, and have longer attention spans in class. Physical activity also helps children build confidence, develop good sleep habits, develop motor skills, have longer attention spans, stay at a healthy weight, and improve social skills and brain development. Since many children are in child care throughout the week, it’s important to provide children daily opportunities to be active in a safe play space. To learn more visit Nemours' Healthy Kids. Healthy Future or Go NAPSACC.
Spending time outdoors provides children the opportunity to seek out exercise, explore their environment, develop muscle strength and coordination, and gain self-confidence. That is why it’s important to offer children a variety of opportunities to play and learn outdoors. Allowing children the opportunity to play and learn outside of the classroom helps to develop and enhance their creativity, social skills, and independence.
Implementing changes in your center on breastfeeding, physical activity, child nutrition, screen time, oral health and outdoor play and learning can be intimidating at first. Training and professional development is a great way to gain new skills and strategies on implementing healthy changes. Professional development is an ongoing process which prepares early childhood educators to obtain, develop, and expand the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to assist and support childcare programs in providing safe and healthy environments—improving the quality of care for the children they serve.
Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood, with more than 40% of children having caries by the time they enter kindergarten.1 Early childhood caries (ECC) can cause significant pain for children and can lead to oral infection, visible dental decay, destruction and loss of teeth, and damage to permanent teeth. This can impact a child's self-esteem, sleep patterns, school readiness, weight gain, and more. Child care centers can play an important role in the reduction of ECC by educating children and their parents on the importance of healthy oral hygiene.
To achieve this benchmark for WellSpot designation, child care centers will implement at least one best-practice in each of the following resources: Tooth brushing, Teach Practices, and Education to Children and Families. For best-practices to implement, please refer to the resource Oral Health 101 below.
1. Pierce KM, Rozier RG, Vann WF. Accuracy of pediatric primary care providers'screening and referral for early childhood caries. Pediatrics 2002;109(5):E82. Available at : "http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/109/5/e82.long".