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In This Issue
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Indoor Safety in the Early Care Environment


 
Ensuring safety is the primary job responsibility for early childhood professionals. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly 300 children under the age of 4 years die every month in the United States because of accidents. Thousands more are injured. Most of these accidents can be prevented, particularly in the child care center, where a strong indoor safety policy and common sense can make all the difference. Early care providers need to be aware of the responsibilities of caring for young children at all times, even when spending time in the classroom. There are various types of child care environments. Some classrooms might be located in centers, churches, schools, or homes. It is your responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of the children in your care at all times. 
  
Although most childhood accidents occur outdoors (mainly due to incidents on the playground), there are more potential hazards indoors. Some indoor injuries result from children's natural curiosity, but more often injuries are caused by simple accidents that could have been avoided. From slipping on a wet floor, to having a hand closed in a door, there are numerous obstacles within a classroom. Keeping children safe requires education, supervision, and environment awareness. Childcare professionals cannot physically watch every child at every second, so it's imperative that caregivers identify and remove all potential hazards.
 
So, what can you do to help create the safest environment possible? First, make sure to communicate safety issues with children, parents, and colleagues. All center staff should work together to maximize safety and minimize risks. This includes looking over one another's shoulders to make sure nobody neglects a potential hazard. Second, supervise children as much as possible. Checklists, outlet covers, and other safety measures mean nothing without adequate supervision. Finally, develop a safety checklist to use every day. Here are some common indoor safety hazards to address with checklists:

  • Strangulation caused by cords on window blinds and electrical appliances
  • Suffocation due to unsafe bedding
  • Electrical shock from outlets and appliances
  • Poisoning (from toxic substances, including cleaning supplies and medications)
  • Falls on stairs, slippery floors, or as a result of unsafe use of cribs, highchairs, and other furniture
  • Collisions with people or obstacles in high-traffic areas or due to unsafe room arrangements
  • Missing children or severed fingers due to improper use of doors and gates
  • Choking hazards (especially small toys and improper foods)
  • Cuts and puncture wounds from sharp edges on furniture, utensils, or broken toys
  • Falling objects, which children pull down from tables or shelves
Despite your best efforts, you will never be able to prevent all childhood injuries. Accidents happen, and children are prone to explore and find ways to injure themselves. However, with proper planning and awareness, you can greatly reduce the potential for accidental injuries and deaths, allowing you to focus less time and energy on worrying and more on nurturing and guiding young children. 
 
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Safety in Early Childhood Environments
Article Courtesy of education.com 
 
After children reach one year of age, accidental injuries are the largest cause of death in the United States (National Center for Health Statistics). Therefore, reducing injuries when working with this age group is a major concern. A longitudinal study of more than 1,200 children followed from birth through first grade found that children who spend more time in child care have a slightly reduced risk of injury compared with children spending more time in their own homes.
View Article

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Indoor Safety Checklist
Article Courtesy of childhealthonline.org

Regardless of your childcare setting -- home, center, or school-based --- keeping children safe involves education, supervision, and environment. It's important to teach children what they can do to stay safe. Supervision is essential; a child in our care should never be out of our sight. But the most effective way to prevent injury is to have a safe environment. It's our job to recognize and remove potential hazards. Let's walk through our facility and find some of the ways to make the indoor environment safer.
 View Article  
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This Month's Trial Course: Indoor Safety 
 
CCEI offers CCEI110A: Indoor Safety in the Early Childhood Setting as an online no-cost trial child care training course to new CCEI users during the month of November. 

This course introduces early childhood professionals to indoor safety standards in an early childhood setting. Topics covered include toy safety, poison control, the development of appropriate play space, controlling high traffic areas in the center, and other safety standards. Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to identify common indoor injuries and identify appropriate ways to prevent these injuries. Students will also learn about the basic components of toy safety, potential safety hazards with specific equipment, and ways in which children may be exposed to poisons. 
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Contact Admissions at 1.800.499.9907, or visit www.cceionline.edu for more information or to enroll online.

 

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