Outdoor Health and Safety
Summer Safety Tips
Being safe in the summer does not mean staying indoors all day long! Children need fresh air, exercise, and outdoor play throughout the year. The NC Child Care Rules .0509(d) require that facilities take children outdoors every day that “weather conditions permit”. In the summer storms or a heat index at or above 90 º F pose significant health risks (Caring For Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standard 2.009).
Use good judgement and help children develop sun safe habits.
- Limit sun exposure during the hottest part of the day, between 10 AM and 4 PM.
- Apply sunscreen, 15 SPH or higher, to children’s exposed skin, thirty minutes before going out. Get written permission from the parents to use sunscreen.
- Dress children in lightweight clothing that covers the skin and broad brimmed hats to protect them from over exposure. Have children wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection.
- Provide shade (trees, shade structures, awnings, tarps) so adults and children can enjoy more time outdoors.
Young Bodies on the Move
Physical activity teaches children:
- Where their bodies are in relationship to the space around them.
- How their bodies move and how much effort it takes to jump, run, crawl or bend.
- To trust their bodies and their ability to solve physical challenges.
When setting up the environment children's safety should always be the first thing to consider. Uncluttered open areas and pathways allow all children to move freely. They do not have to worry about tripping over toys or bumping into each other. A safe open environment encourages physical activity.
"To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play and the childlike desire for recognition" ~Albert Einstein
- Infants need a safe space, protected from mobile toddlers and preschoolers, where they can stretch, kick, and crawl.
- Toddlers need a safe area where they can practice walking, and develop balance and large muscle coordination.
- Preschoolers have loads of energy and are more physically adept. They need space for running, climbing, jumping, and for stretching, bending and playing active games.
When planning and scheduling activities, providers should remember that children:
- Should never be inactive for more than one hour at a time, unless they are sleeping.
- With physical disabilities may need adaptive equipment such as walkers, braces, crutches or other special supports to help them move and participate in activities.
- Need to engage in a wide array of activities each day to master different physical skills and to develop flexibility, strength and endurance.
Providers can join in the fun!
- Walk, run and skip with the children for an aerobic workout!
- Lead children in stretching and bending exercises to increase flexibility!
- Lift, climb and throw balls with children to build strength!
When adults encourage children and enthusiastically join in activities, they help to instill a love of physical activity. Seeing providers enjoying the fun helps children develop a positive attitude towards physical activity and gives providers a chance to get some of the exercise they need to stay, or become, fit and healthy!
Babies on the Move!
There is no minimum or maximum amount of time recommended for infants to be physically active. Infants should have many opportunities each day to move freely.
- Infants should not be confined to cribs or strollers for more than a few minutes after they wake up or come back from their stroll.
- Activities should match each baby's abilities.
- Activities should be brought to infants who are not mobile.
- Infants who are able to sit independently or are mobile can get to the toys they want to play with.
Promoting Healthy Social Behaviors in Child Care Centers
Help is available for child care providers who care for children with challenging behaviors. Promoting Healthy Social Behaviors in Child Care Centers is an initiative of the NC Resource and Referral Council, funded by the NC DCD. Behavior specialists are available to every county in North Carolina. They can visit regulated child care centers and observe children. They will work with child care providers to develop strategies to reduce and prevent challenging behaviors in the classroom. They can suggest new approaches to try to make classrooms calmer and
happier places. They offer training statewide for families and for caregivers who work at home or in centers.
For information contact Jesse Norris: (910) 642-8189 or 800-653-5212, ext. 22 or email@example.com.
Infant/Toddler Enhancement Project
Did you know that more growth and development takes place during the first three years of life than at any other time? NC's Infant/Toddler Enhancement Project can help you improve the quality of the care you provide for your youngest children.
For information contact Linda King: (910) 642-8189 or 800-653-5212, ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NC School-Age Project
The School-age Specialist is available to help you arrange and furnish your school age classrooms with appropriate materials and experiences to engage your older children's interests and learning.
For information about the School-age Project contact Mary Miller: (910) 642-8189 or 800-653-5212, ext. 23 or email@example.com.
Teaching Caring Behaviors in Groups
- In child care, plan a group time to allow each child to share and build a sense of community with his or her peers.
- Plan group rules that include sticking together, no hurts, and having fun.
- Say something positive about each child every day.
- Midday circle time can help children to regroup and will allow children to tell what they have been doing during the morning.
- Children who help plan their learning and choose their own activities will feel more in control, and they will feel more competent.
- Plan transitions. Music, finger play, and poems can be signals to change activities smoothly.
- Really listen when children speak. Seek to understand the message behind their words.
Reference: DeBord, Karen (2000), Childhood Aggression: Where Does It Come From? How Can It Be Managed? www.nncc.org/Child.Dev/aggression.html.