Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 2: Program Activities for Healthy Development

2.4 Health Education

2.4.2 Health Education for Staff Health and Safety Education Topics for Staff

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 1/10/2017.


Health and safety education for staff should include physical, oral, mental, emotional, nutritional, physical activity, and social health of children. In addition to the health and safety topics for children in Standard, health education topics for staff should include:

  1. Promoting healthy mind and brain development through child care;
  2. Healthy indoor and outdoor learning/play environments;
  3. Behavior/discipline;
  4. Managing emergency situations;
  5. Monitoring developmental abilities, including indicators of potential delays;
  6. Nutrition (i.e., healthy eating to prevent obesity);
  7. Food safety;
  8. Water safety;
  9. Safety/injury prevention;
  10. Safe use, storage, and clean-up of chemicals;
  11. Hearing, vision, and language problems;
  12. Physical activity and outdoor play and learning;
  13. Immunizations;
  14. Gaining access to community resources;
  15. Maternal or parental/guardian depression;
  16. Exclusion policies;
  17. Tobacco use/smoking and electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use/vaping;
  18. Marijuana use;
  19. Safe sleep environments and SIDS prevention;
  20. Breastfeeding support;
  21. Environmental health and reducing exposures to environmental toxins;
  22. Children with special needs;
  23. Shaken baby syndrome and abusive head trauma;
  24. Safe use, storage of firearms;
  25. Safe medication administration and appropriate antibiotic use;
  26. Safe storage of medications;
  27. Safe storage of marijuana (in all forms, including oils, liquids, and edible products); and
  28. Safe storage of toxic substances.
When child care staff are knowledgeable in health and safety practices, programs are more likely to be healthy and safe (1). Compliance with twenty hours per year of staff continuing education in the areas of health, safety, child development, and abuse identification was the most significant predictor for compliance with state child care health and safety regulations (2). Child care staff often receive their health and safety education from a child care health consultant. Data support the relationship between child care health consultation and the increased quality of the health of the children and safety of the child care center environment (3,4).
Community resources can provide written health- and safety-related materials. Examples of materials can be found here: and Consultation or training can be sought from a child care health consultant (CCHC) or certified health education specialist (CHES).

Child care programs should consider offering “credit” for health education classes or encourage staff members to attend accredited education programs that can give education credits.

The American Association for Health Education (AAHE) and the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) provide information on certified health education specialists.

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Ratios and Supervision for Swimming, Wading, and Water Play Additional Qualifications for Caregivers/Teachers Serving Children Birth to Thirty-Five Months of Age Initial Orientation of All Staff Orientation for Care of Children with Special Health Care Needs Orientation Topics First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training for Staff Topics Covered in Pediatric First Aid Training Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training for Swimming and Water Play Continuing Education for Directors and Caregivers/Teachers in Centers and Large Family Child Care Homes Continuing Education for Small Family Child Care Home Caregivers/Teachers Training of Staff Who Handle Food Child Abuse and Neglect Education Training on Occupational Risk Related to Handling Body Fluids Education of Center Staff Training Time and Professional Development Leave Payment for Continuing Education Child Care Health Consultants Health, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Safety Awareness Monitoring Children’s Development/Obtaining Consent for Screening Supervision Near Bodies of Water Discipline Measures Health and Safety Education Topics for Children Use of Tobacco, Electronic Cigarettes, Alcohol, and Drugs Medical Emergency Procedures Preventing and Identifying Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma Inclusion/Exclusion/Dismissal of Children Medication Administration General Plan for Feeding Infants Use and Storage of Toxic Substances Firearms Immunization Documentation Unimmunized Children Immunization of Caregivers/Teachers Community Resource Information Contents of Child’s Primary Care Provider’s Assessment
  1.  Alkon, A., J. Bernzweig, K. To, M. Wolff, J. F. Mackie. 2009. Child care health consultation improves health and safety policies and practices. Academic Pediatrics 9:366–70.
  2. Crowley, A. A., M. S. Rosenthal. 2009. Ensuring the health and safety of Connecticut’s early care and education programs. Farmington, CT: The Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut.
  3. Alkon, A., et al. 2014. NAPSACC intervention in child care improves nutrition and physical activity knowledge, policies, practices, and children’s BMI. BMC Pediatrics 14: 215.
  4. Alkon, A., et al. 2016. Integrated pest management intervention in child care centers improves knowledge, pest control, and practices. Journal of Pediatric Health Care 30(6): e27-e41.

    Rosenthal, M. S., A. A. Crowley, L. Curry. 2009. Promoting child development and behavioral health: Family child care providers’ perspectives. J Pediatric Health Care 23:289-97.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Get smart: Know when antibiotics work.
    American Lung Association. E-cigarettes and Lung Health. 2016.
    National Institute on Drug Abuse. DrugFacts - Marijuana. 2016.
    Gupta, R. S., S. Shuman, E. M. Taveras, M. Kulldorff, J. A. Finkelstein. 2005. Opportunities for health promotion education in child care. Pediatrics 116: e499-e505. 
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Education and community support for health literacy. 2016.

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 1/10/2017.