Hazardous Materials Information for Child Care Providers

Resources for the identification and elimination of hazardous materials in child care programs.

Program Safety

Animals in Schools and Daycares
Class pets can spread germs in a classroom. This web page from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidance on safety practices related to animals in a school or daycare setting.

NIOSH Fast Facts: Protecting Yourself from Poisonous Plants
This web page from the CDC’s National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) contains information on common poisonous plants and what to do if you are exposed.

CCHP Health and Safety Checklist
The California Childcare Health Program’s (CCHP) Health and Safety Checklist is a 112-item tool developed to assess key health and safety standards and identify ways to improve health and safety in early care and education programs. This checklist includes information on hazardous materials that can be found in child care facilities.

Laundry Room and Detergent Safety
Laundry detergents and other laundry products are poisonous and must be stored properly away from children. This web page from HealthyChildren.org includes tips for safely storing laundry products and childproofing in-home laundry facilities.

The Lead-Safe Toolkit for Center-Based Child Care
This toolkit from the National Center for Healthy Housing was designed to provide center-based child care providers with resources and strategies to ensure the safety of their child care facilities. The toolkit is divided into four main categories: paint, drinking water, soil, and consumer products.

The Lead-Safe Toolkit for Home-Based Child Care
This toolkit from the National Center for Healthy Housing was designed to provide home-based child care providers with resources and strategies to ensure the safety of their child care facilities. The toolkit is divided into four main categories: paint, drinking water, soil, and consumer products.

Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units
The Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units are a national network of experts in the prevention, diagnosis, management, and treatment of health issues that arise from environmental exposures from preconception to adolescence.

Prevention of Childhood Lead Toxicity
This article in the journal Pediatrics, from the American Academy of Pediatrics, contains information on common sources of lead and the long-term effects of lead poisoning in children.

Guidelines for Radon Testing in Family and Group Family Day Care Programs
Breathing air that contains radon can lead to lung cancer. This web page from New York State’s Office of Children and Family Services provides information on how to test for radon in family child care settings.

Guidelines for Radon Testing in Day Care Centers / School Age Child Care Programs
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. This web page from New York State’s Office of Children and Family Services contains information on testing for radon in child care centers

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention
The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that infants and young children are more susceptible to the effects of carbon monoxide because of their higher metabolic rates. This web page from Child Care Aware of America provides information about carbon monoxide safety in child care.

Healthy Breathing: Tips for Health Managers from the National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness
All places where children spend time should be smoke free, all the time. This fact sheet presents information on second- and third-hand smoke, asthma, and practices child care programs can incorporate to support healthy breathing.

Poison Control
This website has an emergency helpline for suspected poisoning. There are also resources for poison and prevention information and pill identification.

Model Exposure Control Plan
This sample Universal Exposure Control Plan from South Carolina is intended to serve as a guide for child care employers to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration Bloodborne Pathogens standards.

Model Child Care Health Policies
This web page from Pennsylvania’s Early Childhood Education Linkage System features sample policies and checklists regarding hazardous materials in child care settings.

Acute Marijuana Intoxication
This web page from Colorado Children’s Hospital describes marijuana and its uses and effects; marijuana intoxication in children and teens, including causes and symptoms, tests and diagnosis, and treatment; and the long-term effects of marijuana on children.

Children and Gun Safety: What to Know and Do
This article from Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publishing shares information about firearm injury and death among children and youth in the United States, emphasizes the importance of securely storing guns away from children, and shares tips to help family child care providers keep children safe.

Hand Hygiene

Show Me the Science – When & How to Use Hand Sanitizer in Community Settings
Hand sanitizer can be dangerous to children if swallowed. This web page from the CDC provides information on situations when using hand sanitizer is appropriate and why it is important to monitor children when sanitizing their hands.

Situations that Require Hand Hygiene
This web page from Head Start’s Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center has information on when child care staff must wash their hands.

Cleaning Procedures

Green Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting: A Toolkit for Early Care and Education
This toolkit by the Western States Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit presents practical information on how to keep early care and education environments clean and safe using practices and products that are less hazardous and protect young children and staff from infectious diseases. The toolkit includes a curriculum and checklist, posters, fact sheets, and a training presentation.

Appendix K: Routine Schedule for Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting
This appendix from the Caring for Our Children (CFOC) National Health and Safety Performance Standards provides a chart outlining how often items in child care settings should be cleaned, sanitized, or disinfected.

Appendix J: Selecting an Appropriate Sanitizer or Disinfectant
The terms “sanitize” and “disinfect” are often used to mean the same thing, but they are different. Appendix J from the CFOC National Health and Safety Performance Standards describes the difference between sanitizer and disinfectant and how to select the appropriate cleaning method.

Clean Away COVID
The Association of State Public Health Nutritionists recently published a website with accessible, short videos on disinfecting homes to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.

Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management in Child Care Centers: Protecting our Children from Pests and Pesticides
This presentation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contains information on integrative pest management in child care centers.

Dos and Don'ts of Pest Control
This web page from Head Start’s Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center provides information on methods for pest control that are safe around children.

Training, Webinars and Resources for Child Care Providers
This EPA web page provides training, webinars, and additional resources for child care providers on environmental dangers common in child care settings, integrated pest control, and other practices for healthy child care settings.

Toy Safety

Toy Safety in Child Care
This web page from the Extension Alliance for Better Child Care presents information on how to select safe toys for children to prevent injury.

How High-Powered Magnetic Toys Can Harm Children
High-powered magnetic toys, which often comprise sets of 100 or more small magnetic balls or cubes, can be dangerous or life-threatening if ingested by children. This web page from HealthyChildren.org describes how these popular toys can present a risk to children and offers tips to help parents keep their children safe.

How Small Batteries Can Become Dangerous to Children
Button batteries and lithium coin batteries are small, round batteries that may be found in remote controls and other household items. These batteries can cause injury when stuck in a child's nose or ear, and possibly death when swallowed. This web page from HealthyChildren.org discusses how these batteries can present a risk to children and what to do in case of an emergency

Choking Hazards
This CDC web page discusses how foods can present potential choking hazards for children, particularly when they are still learning how to chew and swallow food. It features information on specific foods that may pose choking hazards and ways to prevent children from choking.

Four Keys to Holiday Toy Safety
This one-page flier from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) contains four fast facts on holiday toy safety.

Art and Craft Safety Guide
This comprehensive guide to art and craft safety from CPSC includes information on paints, glues, and other potential hazards related to common art supplies.

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Recalls
This feature on the CPSC website provides a searchable database for all product recalls. Families and providers may register toys and other items to receive emails when products are recalled. As a reminder, child care providers are responsible for all child injuries related to a recalled item.