Child Care Quality: Does It Matter and Does It Need to be Improved? (Full Report). Health and Safety Indicators of Quality

05/24/2000

Global process quality measures such as the ECERS, CC-HOME, and Profile Assessment include health and safety indicators as a component of process quality. Research conducted in the medical and public health arenas has focused more exclusively on these indicators in relation to children’s physical health and safety. More hygienic practices by staff and children (Niffenegger, 1997; St. Sauver, Khurana, Kao, and Foxman, 1998) are associated with fewer respiratory illnesses and other infectious diseases. These practices include frequent handwashing after diapering, before meals, and after nose wiping. Child injuries in child care settings are most likely to occur on playgrounds and are most due to falls from climbing equipment (Briss, Sacks, Addis, Kresnow, and O’Neil, 1995; Browning, Runyon, and Kotch, 1996). Height of the equipment and lack of an impact-absorbing surface under the equipment have been consistently identified as the factors most highly associated with injuries that required medical treatment. The North Carolina Smart Start initiative was successful in improving the safety of child care centers with playground improvement grants (Kotch and Guthrie, 1998).

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