Selecting a Childcare Facility for Your Child

A child born today will grow up exposed to more chemicals than a child from any other generation in our nation’s history.

According to the EPA, of the 85,000 synthetic chemicals in commerce today, only a small fraction has been tested for toxicity on human health.They also site a 2005 study that found 287 different chemicals in cord blood of 10 newborn babies – chemicals from pesticides, fast food packaging, coal and gasoline emissions and trash incineration.

It is difficult to keep our own homes as free of environmental risks for our children, it is beyond our ability to control the toxins and biological exposures in a daycare facility. We can’t follow them all day in the daycare.

The best we can hope for is to select a daycare that is diligent in protecting our children by knowing the dangers and working at minimizing them in their facility.

Our children are at a much greater risk for harm from indoor air pollutants as they breath in more air as compared to their body weight that adults. Their growing bodies also absorb a higher percentage of toxins they are exposed to such as lead.

Common sources of indoor air pollution include:

Mold and other allergens

Communicable and infectious diseases

CO and VOC’s from combustion sources

Lead from paint and imported plastic toys

Radon

Toxins from plastics such as microwaved bottles, sippy cups, teething rings

Building materials and furnishings that contain contaminants such as formaldehyde

Mercury from broken CFL bulbs

Asbestos

Pesticides and cleaning chemical residue

The EPA states that there are so many sources of indoor air pollution in childcare facilities that the air is considered to be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air.

We want to select daycare facilities that are aware of these risks and have an active program to reduce the chance of your child being hurt by exposures. Look for a daycare that:

  • Implements a regular testing and green treatment program for mold and allergens. Look for a regular service providers notice of treatment
  • Has an infection control program that includes all of the best practices including washing, dis-infection, avoidance of risky sharing of items that have not been cleaned, supply of tissues and proper control of diaper changing and bathroom activities
  • Has a cleaning service that utilizes green products as opposed to harsh chemicals
  • Has paints, finishes and materials in good condition without peeling paint or wear
  • Provides toys and other materials manufactured in the US and free of the lead as often found in imported colored plastic and paint finishes
  • Has the mechanical systems regularly serviced and tested and has smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Has been tested for radon and asbestos and remediated if necessary
  • Had safe and non-toxic chemicals used If pest control is necessary for the facility