Resources for Early Care and Education Programs

The following resources provide guidance and information to help ensure child care facilities are safe from environmental hazards.

Table of Contents

COVID-19 Information

Visit EEC COVID-19 Resources, Updates, and Information for guidance to resume child care services.

For current Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) updates visit COVID-19 Updates and Information.

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Building Flushing Information addresses stagnant water that may be in pipes after buildings have been closed or partially closed, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Access to Safe Drinking Water

Clean water is important, especially for young children and infants who drink formula made with tap water.

Visit Massachusetts Assistance Program for Lead in School Drinking Water for   information on how your facility can receive assistance to establish a lead and copper in drinking water program.

Massachusetts DPH Lead in Drinking Water FAQs for School and Child Care Facilities includes information on lead and health, lead in drinking water, and how staff and children can stay safe from lead harm.

See the MassDEP Fact Sheet – Flushing: A Short-Term Solution to Reduce Lead and Copper.

For early education and care facilities with private wells, see the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) brochure for an overview of testing guidance and their Drinking Water Guidance for Early Education and Care Facilities with Private Wells document for more details.

The MassDEP brochure, Drinking Water Guidance for Early Education and Care Facilities connected to a Public Water System, provides information on complying with drinking water standards recommended for licensing or re-licensing by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.

Naturally Occurring Contamination

Radon gas is a common natural contaminant that can cause cancer. Learn how to prevent and address radon in schools and child care programs by reading our fact sheet or calling the Massachusetts Radon Hotline (800) 723-6695.

Check these maps from a study of arsenic and uranium in drinking water wells to see if your well is located in an area with naturally higher levels. If so, consider testing using a laboratory certified for water testing.

Former Uses of the Site

Past businesses may have left behind harmful chemicals.

Look up your property in your community’s assessor database to find out who owned the property in the past. A business that might have used chemicals is a red flag. The Choose Safe Places program can help you learn more about former uses.

The Massachusetts Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program has resources for Finding and Removing Lead. Search by location to see if a building has been inspected for lead.

Nearby Sites and Activities

Certain activities could pollute the air, leave chemicals on the ground, or pollute groundwater.

Search for waste sites regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Cleanups in My Community | Cleaning Up Our Land, Water and Air.

Search for state-regulated waste sites & reportable releases by visiting the Energy & Environmental Affairs Data Portal.

Healthy Indoor Environments: Asthma Toolkit, Green Cleaning

A healthy indoor environment supports learning and health.

DPH guidance on Clearing the Air: An Asthma Toolkit for Healthy Schools.

EPA resources on Green Cleaning for Child Care Providers.

The EPA provides common practices for Creating Healthy Indoor Environments in Child Care Settings.

The Children’s Environmental Health Network Eco-Healthy Child Care program provides recommendations to child care facilities to eliminate environmental hazards.

Emergency Planning

After a flood or other disaster, places that were once safe for children may no longer be safe.

ATSDR’s Disaster Recovery Manual can help identify environmental exposures that may be hazardous to children while they are in child care after or during a disaster.

Stories from the Field

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) funds the Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education program in Massachusetts and other states through a cooperative agreement. Take a look at their Stories from the Field for real-life examples that show the importance of safe siting policies— and the risks of what can go wrong without them.

Additional Resources

  • DPH and the Department of Early Education and Care provide resources for health consultants. See Health and Safety in Child Care Settings.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Futures project works to improve the health outcomes of children in child care settings.
  • If you have questions about the resources on this page, contact ChooseSafePlaces@mass.gov.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers many resources — from free training courses to educational materials you can share with families. See the Early Care and Education Portal.
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