These tips were originally the sixth email in a series of twelve tips for child care providers in New York State that Clean and Healthy New York trained on EcoHealthy Child Care® and toxic chemical reduction and elimination strategies. We hope you find them helpful and they inspire you to take further steps to reduce the hidden toxic chemicals in your setting.
Tools to Engage Parents
Hopefully, you've taken several steps to reduce toxic chemicals in your program. Here's how you can engage parents:
Add Signs in Key Locations
Let parents know what you're doing by added descriptions. For example:
Remind them of "no idling" policies in your parking lot or driveway.
Let them know that glass bottles are OK in the kitchen.
Label the closet with a note that explains you only use certified green cleaning products.
Add a note by restroom faucets explaining how your kitchen faucets are flushed each morning and how you only use cold water for cooking to reduce any lead contamination.
Have you become EcoHealthy Child Care® endorsed? Display your certification and decal sticker prominently.
Have you recently made a change? Put a sign near the door notifying parents that you've changed drink containers to stainless steel tumblers, or now allow parents to use reusable diapers.
If you change how you freshen the air - removing a candle or air freshener, opening a window occasionally, choosing unscented cleaners - put a notice where they might have seen something or smelled the old smells more strongly.
Send Home Information
We have created a simple, half-page flyer (PDF) that you can print, cut apart, and send home with the children in your care.
Talk with Parents
If you have a small in-home program, tell parents about changes you're making, and ask their feedback. Share fact sheets like the one above, or give them the link to all of our child care materials, if they want more information.
If you have a larger program, and have made a number of changes, consider hosting a tour of the facility to show parents what you're doing differently. Your efforts can inspire and educate!
Mt. Sinai School of Medicine operates the Children's Environmental Health Center of Excellence, conducting research into environmental causes of childhood disease. They also provide free consultation for parents who have questions about pediatric environmental exposures. To contact the Mount Sinai Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU), please call 1-866-265-6201 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funding provided by the Environmental Protection Fund through a grant from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NYS Pollution Prevention Institute or Department of Environmental Conservation.
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