Unit Two Creating a Safe and Healthful Environment
Copyright Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc.
Climb the ladder to go up the slide. Do
not walk up the slide from the bottom.
Wear a helmet when riding bikes.
Wash your hands after playing with
dough or at the water table.
Remind children about the limits.
Otherwise, they may forget or ignore them. For
example, Eino may walk in front of moving
swings. When this happens, say, “Eino, walk
around the swings, not in front of them.”
Usually, this reminder will redirect a child. If
Eino still fails to comply, you may have to say,
“Eino, you need to stay away from moving
swings.” Do not allow anyone to continue
swinging until Eino moves a safe distance away
from the swings.
Teach children to wipe up spills promptly.
Always keep paper towels within the children’s
reach. When children forget to wipe up a spill,
remind them. Likewise, it’s important to praise
children who remember. Say, “Gerald, thank you
for wiping up that spill. Now no one will slip
and fall.” Praise will encourage all the children
to remember the limits. In time, you may hear
the children remind each other of the limits.
Provide a Safe Environment
Closely observing children and setting
safety rules for them to obey helps create a safe
center. This is only part of the process. You must
also keep watch for hazardous situations. Toys,
equipment, electrical appliances, hot water, and
cleaning supplies can pose danger to children.
Center vehicles and the building itself can also
be hazardous to children.
Toys and Materials
A teacher’s fi rst job regarding toy safety is
to choose items wisely. Picking safe toys and
materials greatly reduces the risk of serious
Selection is just the start, however. As a
teacher, you must supervise children using the
toys. Children often use toys in ways for which
they were not designed. While most times this
play is harmless, sometimes you must step in for
safety reasons. For instance, a wooden mallet
for use with a pegboard might be dangerous if
children use it to hit each other. A metal toy car
can be used safely for driving on the fl oor. This
same car poses a safety risk if thrown, however.
You must teach children about safe toy use and
repeat safety limits often. Be fi rm but pleasant
when enforcing the limits.
Remember, a toy can be safe for one child,
but dangerous for another. Accidents can occur
when children use toys that are too advanced
for them. For instance, fi ve-year-old children
love to play with large marbles. These same
marbles are a choking hazard for younger
Check toys frequently for safety. To
illustrate, check the seams of cloth toys for
tearing and weak threads.
Tug at the different parts of the toy, such as
glass eyes and buttons, to test their strength.
If the toy lacks durability, remove it from the
classroom. Depending on the condition and
value, it can either be repaired or discarded.
Toys should also be examined for sharp or
splintered edges. Observe to see if any small
pieces have broken off or splintered. If a toy
needs repairs, immediately remove it from the
As a teacher, you must also stay informed
about changes in safety standards. When new
standards are issued, check current toys to be
sure they conform. Discard items that do not
meet the new standards.
Workplace Connections Workplace Connections
Survey the areas in the center that children
access and then document any possible hazards
they could encounter. This may include slippery
walkways, loose flooring materials, inappropriate
equipment, poisonous landscape plants, and
weed treatments.
1. What changes could be made to make the
areas safe or reduce the hazards?
2. Would child care centers not associated
with a high school program be subject to the
same types of hazards?
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