Unit Two Creating a Safe and Healthful Environment
Copyright Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
“Please give me that broken toy,” teacher
Lucinda Goldstein said to the child. She
immediately saw the danger of the unsafe toy. At
the same time, the center director was checking
the art supplies. In the kitchen, the cook was
fi lling out the monthly safety and sanitation
checklist. All these staff members were showing
their concern for the children’s safety by checking
the safety of their surroundings.
Dangers can be found everywhere in a child
care center (Figure 11.1). Electrical outlets, cleaning
supplies, plants, woodworking tools, outdoor
climbing equipment, and cooking tools can all
cause injuries. Staff members must closely watch
for and remove these dangers. Failure to do so may
result in accidents. Most accidents can be avoided.
Accidents are more likely to occur when the
children’s routine is disrupted. Accidents also
occur more frequently when staff are absent,
busy, or tired.
Children can also be put in danger through
abuse. Teachers must be aware of the signs of
physical and emotional abuse. By law, teachers
must report known or suspected child abuse.
As an early childhood teacher, you will need to be
alert to any dangers that threaten the safety of your
children. In addition, your program must have safety
limits and procedures. The staff must also be aware
of their legal responsibilities for protecting the
children in their care. Because safety standards vary
from state to state, consult your licensing standards.
The staff is responsible for providing a safe
environment for children. The following are basic
objectives toward this goal:
• Supervise the children at all times.
• Maintain at least the minimum adult-child
ratio as required in your state.
• Develop safety limits.
• Provide a safe environment.
• Practice fi re safety.
• Develop plans for weather emergencies.
• Know emergency procedures for accidental
• Recognize signs of child abuse and report
any known or suspected cases.
• Teach children how to protect themselves
from sexual assault.
The following sections will summarize
procedures for meeting each of these objectives.
Supervise the Children at All Times
“It happened so fast—I just left them for a
moment or two,” said the child care teacher. This
teacher did not understand that children cannot
be left alone for even a moment. A teacher who
is responsible for a group of children should
supervise constantly. Young children do not
always understand the concept of danger. As
a result, child care teachers must protect the
children until they can protect themselves.
Young children are fearless, unpredictable,
and quick. They lack sound judgment because
they lack experience and cannot see from another’s
viewpoint. They may bite, throw, push, or shove.
All these actions can endanger others as well as
themselves. Young children may not recognize
behaviors or actions that can cause injuries.
Figure 11.1 Young children can get into dangerous
situations in seconds. Supervision is necessary at