Home Health Best practices for environmental health : environmental pollution, protection, quality and sustainability
FACTORS LEADING TO IMPAIRMENT AND BEST PRACTICES FOR SCHOOLS
About one half of the children in the United States are cared for by people other than their immediate family. Two thirds of two-parent homes have both parents working and therefore child care is needed. Single-parent homes have 20% of the children in the United States who need child care. The preschool or childcare setting may be unsafe and contribute to health problems. The most prominent hazards for children are: toys and equipment; chemical hazards, such as cleaning materials and disinfectants; biological hazards such as airborne and blood-borne infections; handling and moving of equipment and children; unattended children; security of entry points and exits; availability of drugs and other medication; and visual or hearing impairment. There is a need for good personal hygiene and good facility sanitation practices, infectious disease control, injury prevention techniques, illness management, and emergency preparedness.
Bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi are readily spread by young children through close personal contact, hand-to-mouth behavioral traits, and inadequate personal hygiene. Infections can be spread readily from person to person by means of hands and bodies. Infections may be spread by the oral-fecal route, respiratory route, and blood, urine, and saliva. Many surfaces, such as diaper changing tables, food tables, bathroom surfaces, fabrics, toys, and books, are contaminated and can easily be the reason for the transmission of disease. (See endnote 23.)
Children under age 4 are especially at risk for injuries. Children are prone to drowning, motor vehicle injuries, burn injuries, poisonings, choking, and suffocation.
There are a range of environmental contaminants found in early learning and childcare environments. The contaminants come from: outdoor air pollution; indoor and outdoor pesticide use; inadequate ventilation, and the inhalation of carbon monoxide and especially other contaminants from painting, cleaning, and art supplies; dust carrying chemicals from furniture, carpets, televisions, computers, plastic toys, and cleaners; dust tracked in from outside with all the usual contaminants; mold from water-damaged drywall and carpets; lead from old paint, toys, and objects illegally painted with lead-based paints; mercury from broken old glass thermometers and potentially from fish; radon from surrounding soil; tobacco smoke from previous smoking areas; fragrances found in air fresheners, cleaning agents, and perfumes; and fumes from disinfecting or cleaning products. (See endnote 1.)
Best Practices for the Preschool Environment (See endnote 1)
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