Our mealtimes are a part of our curriculum at Estes Children’s Cottage, and we enjoy sharing food experiences together. Our program philosophy is inspired by the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy, and we draw inspiration from their view on food and eating together.
According to the Reggio Children book, The Languages of Food:
Recipes, Experiences, Thoughts, “special care in offering tastes, in the
food and attractive composition of the dish, in the aesthetics of table
setting, the pleasure of sharing lunch with friends, and the opportunity to
encounter the kitchen as a multisensory laboratory are important strategies for
creating a welcoming atmosphere for all and highlighting the individual in the
They view the kitchen in each school as “a place of life and of
possible relationships, a vital space inhabited on a daily basis by adults and
children, a space for thinking and research and learning.”
During the past year, we have explored expanding the children’s involvement with our mealtimes by adding a new ritual of allowing the daily table-setter to design a unique centerpiece for lunchtime. The children now gather items and request that they are used as a centerpiece.
Based on the children’s interest, we’ve created
opportunities for helping that include bringing breakfast from the kitchen,
putting away clean dishes in the morning and removing dishes from the table
after lunch. The older children developed a growing interest in talking about
our menu, the food offered and the kitchen where our food is prepared.
Since we often reference Robert when talking about how some of the dishes we have are prepared, the children wanted to know more about Robert, the manager and chef at the Chapel Hill kitchen for Child Care Services Association’s Meal Services Program. They had many questions for him, including what he looked like and his favorite foods to prepare and eat. We gathered the children’s questions and mailed a letter to Robert. He sent back his responses, complete with a picture attached.
We wanted to nurture the children’s interest in the kitchen and grow the relationship. Our oldest group of children was then able to travel by town bus on a field trip to see the kitchen in action. We were accompanied by a couple of the children’s parents as well.
They observed the food preparation process, saw
some of the tools used in the kitchen and even taste-tested a new recipe the
kitchen staff had prepared for the occasion. They now have a visual of the
kitchen, the staff and a lot of what goes into making our meals, as well as
meeting and forming relationships with the kitchen and staff.
After the bus ride back to the Cottage they were able to share “insider information” with the other children about what they had observed and seen.
Tomonica Rice-Yarborough and Kathy Thornton from
CCSA’s Professional Development Initiatives Team
World Teacher’s Day was established
in 1994 to recognize and celebrate teachers all over the world for their
hard work and dedication. It also brings to light the issues affecting the
profession to work toward a resolution for retaining and attracting teachers to
the field. This day was founded to celebrate public school teachers, but early care educators also should be recognized on this
day because they’re instrumental to the growth and development of our children.
Their contributions to society’s economic stability should be valued,
recognized and celebrated.
One of the main issues facing early care educators is the little
recognition or validation they receive for the pivotal roles they play in the
lives and development of young children. As a field, early educators in North
Carolina often hold degrees, but they earn significantly less than public school
teachers. According to CCSA’s 2015 North Carolina Child Care Workforce Study, the median wage of center directors in North Carolina was
$16.00 per hour, while teachers earned $10.97 per hour and assistant teachers
earned $9.97 per hour.
Although degree attainment has drastically increased in North Carolina, the field as a whole still suffers from being perceived as a high priced “babysitting service.” For 30 years, the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Scholarship Program has provided the workforce with access to a debt-free college education while they work as low wage earners teaching future doctors, lawyers, teachers, administrative assistants, scientists…
Our brains grow
faster between the ages of birth and 3 than any other time in our life.
Children who are formally cared for in early education settings outside of
their homes depend on the early educator to support their developmental growth.
Those years are particularly formative, making the role of the early educator
even more critical. According to philosopher John Locke, “a child’s mind is a
blank slate waiting to be filled with knowledge.” Early educators play a big
part in setting the foundation for our children’s future.
On Sept. 4, 2019, Australia celebrated Early Childhood Educators’ Day to honor and appreciate early childhood educators. The world, like Australia, should have a day set aside to recognize early childhood educators. Sadly, early childhood educators are seldom during the World Teacher’s Day observance. This lends credence to the perception that early childhood education isn’t seen as a worthy profession. Why can’t we dedicate a day of observance to them?
Talking with babies can
be fun and it builds their brains!
Watch the videos below to see great everyday examples of
people just having fun interacting with our littlest kiddos:
Yes! These silly, funny and crazy fun moments build babies’ brains! It is really that simple, and these moments bring laughter and fun into your world. Studies also show that laughter is good for stress management in adults!
What the experts have
to say about talking to our littles
“Serve and return interactions shape brain architecture. When an infant or young child babbles, gestures, or cries, and an adult responds appropriately with eye contact, words, or a hug, neural connections are built and strengthened in the child’s brain that support the development of communication and social skills.” –The Center for the Developing Child, Harvard University.
That’s what you just saw!
Now it’s your turn
Do you want to make a difference in the life of a child? You
can! No matter who you are or what your role is with children, simply having
some crazy fun interactions with a child will help to shape their future and
bring joy (and less stress) into yours.
Written by Kay Ducharme, Regional
CCR&R Senior Manager at CCSA
Becoming a Gigi
Guess what? I finally became a grandmother! Over the past three years, I have had the honor of becoming a grandmother (or Gigi, as my oldest granddaughter Mila calls me) to three little girls. I used to wonder why my friends never seemed to have time for me anymore after they had grandchildren. I actually found myself feeling sorry for some of them because they were always consumed with babysitting when I wanted to go do fun things on weekends. Now, I understand. “Mila adventures” occur on my weekends now, and I love every minute of them. I find myself doing things such as going to the kiddie splash pad, brushing billy goats, riding carousels, planting flowers, visiting playgrounds, shopping for shoes and other weekend girly things. We have gone through so many things, such as potty training, sleep issues, screen time limits, visits to petting farms and zoos, being gentle with animals, learning to walk dogs, etc.
Not Now, Gigi, I’m Busy Writing My Dissertation!
As a former preschool teacher many years ago, I was fascinated with language development. As I worked with young children, I tended to focus on language skills, and obviously do the same with my grandchildren. My oldest daughter is trying to finish her Ph.D. and is on the last leg of completing her dissertation. She called me the other day and told me Mila’s teacher had just called saying that Mila had been standing over a whiteboard. The teacher asked Mila why she was standing up to write. Mila’s reply was, “I am working on my dissertation.” I have heard Mila say that she was working on her dissertation many times and didn’t even think about it being different because this dissertation is something we talk about frequently in our family.
As a result of being a Gigi, I have a renewed appreciation
of what we do at Child Care Services Association (CCSA) for parents, young
children and early care and education professionals. I am keenly aware of child
care deserts for infants and toddlers, the cost of child care and the
navigation systems that parents use to unravel the mystery of child care for
their young children. I have visited and observed child care programs as a Gigi
and talked with teachers about their days and how things work in their
programs. I am amazed at how much they are accomplishing. I see new things that
Mila learns at her preschool every week and am in total awe of her development,
but most of all those language skills.
Mila really doesn’t know what a dissertation is, but she does
know that it involves writing. No one actually prompted Mila to say the word
but obviously has heard it numerous times at home, and it just comes naturally.
As I watch my younger grandchildren learning language
skills, I am reminded of what we need to do even with young infants. We respond
to their crying at first because we want to understand what they are trying to
tell us. This takes practice, but if you really pay attention, you will
understand. When they begin babbling, we imitate their sounds and help them
learn new ones.
Recently, I listened to my younger granddaughters as they
were learning to make sounds and navigate through the house by crawling or
walking around wobbling from side to side. One of them kept repeating the “B”
and “M” sounds that she had just learned, and her mother would imitate her
attempts. They had great games going back and forth, and truly there was a lot
of glee and bonding! Finally, she started saying “momma” by the end of the week,
and this week she has learned to follow directions and kiss her momma when
Young children, as we all know, do repeat what they hear and imitate what they see. Conversations with parents aid in language development and nurtures learning. Talk at home is a powerful tool in the development of language and communication skills. Talking with babies and young children in natural tones and modeling the words that we want them to adopt is extremely important. Instead of teaching Mila the word “dissertation,” we used the word many times while we were around her. It is meaningful to her. Hopefully one day, she will write a real “dissertation” as she explores her own world!
When around young children, it is important to relax and
talk to them. Children are listening and understand much more than we sometimes
give them credit for. Making them perform their new language skills can
sometimes make them clam up, so be careful that you are not asking for
Remember that play and language development go hand-in-hand. A great deal of language is developed through pretend play. Give them lots of opportunities to talk, sing and read books. Reading books with rhyming words and sounds, or singing songs are great ways to develop language skills.
Sometimes language skills emerge over a long period of time
and sometimes they emerge overnight. All children are different and develop at
their own pace. The conversations we have with children nurture their
development and learning. Our talk at home and in preschool settings is a
powerful tool in the development of young children.
5 Power Tools to Help Develop Your Skills in Expanding Language
Here are a few ideas for helping young children develop
Talk naturally in your authentic voice;
Tell stories, sing, read books, ask questions;
Sometimes just be silly with songs, books, and
When they point at a ball, expand on it and make
a sentence out of the word they used or object they pointed out; and
Add colors, prepositions or numbers of objects
in everyday language (i.e. “We are going to climb up 7 brown steps now”).
Numbers, prepositions, colors and words used will all become a natural part of
They are soaking it all in and learn so much from you. Your words are truly powerful! Model the language that you want them to use and you can create learning opportunities wherever you go or whatever you are doing with children. Enjoy them. They grow up too fast!
Allison Miller, VP of Compensation Initiatives at CCSA
Australia has the right idea. They celebrate Early Educator’s Day on
September 4, 2019. We should do the same! We have National Provider’s Day in
May, but shouldn’t we celebrate teachers who work with our young children at
every opportunity? They deserve our recognition; children need them, parents
need them and the nation needs them. They truly are the workforce behind the
Workforce Behind the Workforce Deserves Better Compensation
Early educators make it possible for other professionals to go to
their jobs, to lend their expertise to the community, to grow the economy. To
be productive in the workforce, parents need peace of mind that can only come
from knowing their children are in safe, stable, positive and engaging
environments with teachers who can appropriately guide their learning.
It’s a lot to expect when early childhood teachers, on average, earn $10.97 per hour in North Carolina. It’s not an easy problem to solve because most parents cannot afford to pay more than they do. That’s where the Child Care WAGE$® Program comes in.
Compensation Strategy: The Child Care WAGE$® Program
Early educators deserve to be paid commensurate with their education and the importance of their jobs. Sadly, that’s simply not the case. The Child Care WAGE$® Program is an education-based salary supplement program for teachers, directors and family child care providers working with children birth to five. Awards are issued after the eligible participant has completed at least six months with the same child care program.
As a result of this additional compensation, early educators not only
earn more, but they are more likely to stay and increase their education. The
quality of child care is improved when turnover rates are low, education is
high and compensation is fair.
WAGE$ is made possible with the funding provided by the local Smart
Start partnerships that elect to participate and the NC Division of Child
Development and Early Education.
Yes! In the fiscal year 2018-2019, WAGE$ recipients from the 55 participating N.C. counties earned an average six-month supplement of $974, which breaks down to about $.94 more per hour for full-time employment. The vast majority of participants had at least a two-year degree with significant early childhood coursework and they stayed in their programs. Only 14% left their employers last year, which is notably lower than turnover rates prior to WAGE$ availability.
In addition to the program results of increased education, retention
and compensation, WAGE$ recognizes the importance of early educators and the
key role they play in our lives. It is a way to show appreciation and to boost
morale for an underpaid workforce.
In fact, 97% of survey respondents said that WAGE$ makes them feel
more appreciated and recognized for their work.
The feedback of participants always highlights this message.
One teacher shared, “WAGE$ has shown the
value of giving incentives to teachers.
Teachers need to feel appreciated and rewarded. All teachers deserve a chance to feel special
and loved; that is how WAGE$ makes me feel.”
We all need to take the time to show our appreciation to this
workforce. They deserve it. Happy Early Educator’s Day!
On August 11, 2019, every parent’s worst nightmare happened in Erie, Pennsylvania, as a fire in an overnight family child care home took the lives of five young children ranging in age from 9 months old to 8 years old. Harris Family Daycare was regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and operated out of a three-story home for nearly 20 years. The owner offered nontraditional (and overnight) hour care to meet the needs of working parents in her community.
When I saw the news day,
my heart was heavy and my thoughts were with the families and the family child
In the United States, one out of five adult workers has a nonstandard work schedule (working early morning hours, evening hours, or overnight compared to those who work more traditional day time jobs). Among low-income families, studies have found that half of parents work jobs during nontraditional hours (e.g., cleaning offices at night or working second shift retail or food service jobs). For families who need child care during nontraditional hours, the search for child care is extraordinarily difficult. Few child care centers offer care during nontraditional hours and about one-third of regulated family child care homes offer nontraditional hour care.
In the Erie case, the mother of four of the children who died was working as a nurse during an overnight shift. The father of three of the children was a fireman responding to a call at a different location. The fire occurred at 1:15 a.m. presumably while everyone was sleeping. Fire investigators found one smoke detector located in the attic and preliminary reports indicate the fire may have been caused through an extension cord malfunction.
For regulated child care (centers and homes), federal law requires an annual inspection for health, safety and fire standards. However, fire safety rules and inspection compliance procedures are set individually by each state. To operate a licensed family child care home in North Carolina,
A battery operated smoke detector or an
electronically operated (with a battery backup) smoke detector is required.
For homes operating overnight, a battery
operated smoke detector or an electronically operated (with a battery backup)
smoke detector is required in each room where children are sleeping.
An annual licensing inspection is required and a
local fire inspection is required if the county in which the home is located
How do the North
Carolina child care licensing requirements measure up against National Fire
Protection Association (NFPA) recommendations?
Unrelated to whether a home is used for child care purposes, NFPA requires that at a minimum, smoke alarms be installed in each sleeping room and on every level of the home. NFPA recommends that smoke alarms be tested once per month. For smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries, the battery should be replaced immediately if the alarm chirps (indicating the battery is low). For smoke alarms with any other type of battery, batteries should be replaced once per year.
In the case of the Erie family child care home fire, there was confusion about whose job it was to check for smoke alarm compliance (e.g., the P.A. Department of Human Services during annual inspections or the local fire department). Pennsylvania state legislators are now drafting legislation to clarify roles and responsibilities and requirements. Perhaps it is time for us to review those regulations and make sure that lessons learned from Pennsylvania are used to inform safety practices here in North Carolina.
Fire safety generally is a large issue. North Carolina does need fire safety rules and effective monitoring in place for licensed child care. At the same time, the public generally needs to be aware of potential fire danger and NFPA smoke alarm recommendations. It is important that all centers and homes be equipped with working smoke detectors, that those smoke alarms are regularly tested and that batteries are replaced on an annual basis. At $5 – $20, many smoke alarms are an inexpensive investment.
for licensed family child care homes, it is critical to ensure that fire
protection policies are clear, and that the roles and responsibilities for
safety checks are clear as well. Parents work nontraditional hours. Child care
is needed, which may involve hours in which everyone in the household is
asleep. The tragedy in Erie, P.A. gives us a chance to review fire safety rules
for N.C. licensed family child care homes and centers. A child’s life depends
Publicly supported preschool services for 4-year-olds is a huge need in Durham County, yet NC Pre-K does not have all its seats filled for this school year, which starts in only a few weeks.
According to the Durham County Government, there are nearly 4,000 4-year-olds each year in Durham County, about half of whom live in households making less than $50,000 a year. Children from lower-income households are often left behind their peers, furthering inequality and setting the stage for an achievement gap that persists through high school. As a vibrant, growing community, Durham recognizes the short- and long-term benefits of a high quality early childhood program for the community, but most especially for children and their families, particularly those earning low-incomes.
Our research found there are six low-income preschool children for every one publicly funded preschool space in Durham through programs such as NC Pre-K, Durham Public Schools and Head Start. With funding from the Durham County Government, the Durham PreK umbrella offers the opportunity for universal services for all 4-year-olds in Durham County through these programs.
“Durham is making a bold investment in the future by supporting early education for our young children,” said Linda Chappel, Senior Vice President of Triangle Area Child Care Resources and Referral Services at Child Care Services Association (CCSA). “We will not rest while some of our children are left behind, furthering inequality and setting the stage for the achievement gap that persists through high school and beyond.”
As president of CCSA, I have authorized CCSA’s Triangle Area Child Care Resource and Referral Services Division to make this our number one priority, and I hope Durham’s Partnership for Children and Durham Public Schools do the same.
Every child deserves affordable, accessible, high-quality child care, and Durham PreK works to ensure just that. We hope to be able to utilize every spot for Durham PreK, Durham County’s commitment to high-quality publicly-funded preschool for all 4-year-olds.
Durham’s Partnership for Children is still accepting applications for enrollment for this school year. Families can apply for NC Pre-K by contacting Durham’s Partnership for Children at 919-403-6960 or by visiting dpfc.net/our-work/ncpk/. CCSA works with the Partnership to enroll children in the Durham PreK program once they are in NC Pre-K.
About Durham PreK:
Durham PreK is committed to improving the quality of preschool programs by providing financial support, training opportunities for teachers and increasing eligibility for families to enroll their child. Beginning in 2018, Durham County Government has committed to equitable access to high-quality preschool for all children in Durham. Investments will not only increase the number of publicly funded pre-K slots but also broaden eligibility and work with teachers and private centers to build their quality through teacher and director education, mentoring and coaching. For more information, visit https://www.childcareservices.org/durham-prek/.
About Child Care Services Association:
Founded in 1974, Child Care Services Association’s mission is to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality child care for all young children and their families. Using a holistic approach, CCSA supports children and families find child care in the Triangle, helps child care professionals improve the quality of early education children receive and provides scholarship resources so all families can afford and access high-quality early care and education. CCSA also provides healthy meals for children at child care centers throughout the Triangle with our Meal Services program. Our T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood®, Child Care WAGE$® and Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$ programs give child care educators the means to obtain an education and supplement their salary based on that education, increasing teacher education, retention and compensation. CCSA also licenses T.E.A.C.H. and WAGE$ across the U.S. and conducts early childhood systems research and policy development statewide and nationally. For more information, visit www.childcareservices.org.
My children were born in the late ‘70s, and I remember as a young parent having discussions with our realtor about whether there was lead in the paint of the very old house we were buying. Almost all houses built before 1970, at least in the U.S., contain some form of lead paint. The house we were buying was built much before 1970, and it was clear that we would have to sand and paint every room, change the plumbing and all the good things that come with owning an old home. And fortunately, we did all of that over time, very carefully.
I will admit, however, that I do not remember
if lead testing was one of the many conversations I had with our pediatrician
about the health and safety of our children. Today, however, it is an essential conversation to have!
Lead Poisoning Today
Lead poisoning has been in the news a lot over
the last few months due to the concerning levels of lead found in the water
supply of child care programs and its potential impact on the health and safety
of the surrounding community. Currently, North Carolina does not require
testing water for lead in child care programs, unless a child is found to have
elevated blood lead levels. The news has been especially alarming for parents
and families who work hard to keep their children safe and on a path to reach
their fullest potential. Lead in the public water supply threatens that daily
This issue is not only an issue specific to child care programs: An estimated 10 million Americans get drinking water from pipes that are at least partially lead.
Young Children are the Most at Risk
Young children are especially at risk of harm
from lead. Babies and young children’s bodies are still developing and are in a
critical life stage for brain development. When they are exposed to lead from
water or other sources, it enters directly into the bloodstream where it can harm
developing organs, muscles and bones. Infants who rely on formula get 100% of
their nutritional intake from water. If that water is tainted with lead, they
get an enormous dose of it compared with older children and adults.
Research shows there really is no safe level
of lead exposure for a child. Even at the lowest levels of exposure, lead can
reduce IQ and harm a child’s ability to concentrate and focus in school. These
effects are permanent and can affect a child’s education, health outcomes and
long-term earning potential.
Lead poisoning is preventable by identifying lead before children are harmed. The most important step that parents, teachers and others can take is to prevent lead exposure before it occurs. The North Carolina Commission for Public Health is proposing a change to a child care sanitation regulation that will significantly reduce exposure to lead for some of the youngest and most vulnerable children in our state. With U.S. Environment Protection Agency grant money to pay for the first round of testing, North Carolina can work to make drinking water safer for infants and young children without adding to child care costs.
Prevention: The Proposed Child Care
We all know that prevention is the best medicine. The proposed child care sanitation rule is an example of a good preventative approach to lead exposure. The following requirements included in the proposed rule will help ensure that it protects children from potential lead in child care drinking and food prep water:
for lead in drinking and food prep water every three years – Lead levels in water can fluctuate over time. Changes in water source
or chemistry can cause leaching of lead from pipes into water, increasing water
lead levels. This is what led to the Flint water crisis.
Additionally, unforeseen plumbing problems such as a dirty aerator or a partial
clog can release lead from pipes into drinking and food prep water. Finally,
improper maintenance of filters by child care operators can decrease the
effectiveness of mitigation measures taken to prevent lead exposure.
all buildings despite age – Buildings constructed
after the 1986 Lead Ban may still pose a significant risk of lead contamination
in drinking and food prep water. The ban, effective as of 1988, defined “lead
free” as materials containing less than 8% lead, which allowed lead to remain
in pipes that convey drinking water to homes and in fixtures and faucets in
homes. An amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act, effective as of 2014,
redefined “lead free to require faucets and pipes to contain less than 0.25%
lead; as such buildings constructed between 1988 and 2014 can still contain
plumbing and fixtures with significant lead content.” Testing all
buildings despite age will ensure that no building poses a considerable risk of
all taps – The concentration of lead in one tap is not
indicative of the concentration of lead in all taps in a building. Lead
concentration across taps can vary because lead can originate from an
individual faucet, a dirty aerator or a filter that hasn’t been changed.
Therefore, it is critical to test all taps to ensure safe child care center
drinking and food prep water.
What You Can Do
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has information on lead poisoning that you can read and share.
Talk with your health care provider about lead
screening. Lead screening measures the level of lead in the blood through a
blood test in the finger or vein. It is important. Lead is a toxin that is particularly
dangerous for young children because of their small size and rapid growth and
development. It can cause behavioral and learning difficulties, anemia,
seizures and other medical problems. A lead test is the only way to know if
your child has lead poisoning. Most children who have lead poisoning do not
look or act sick. Talk to your doctor about this.
Child Care Services Association (CCSA)
provides free referral services to families seeking child care, technical
assistance to child care businesses and educational scholarships and salary
supplements to child care professionals through the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood®,
Child Care WAGE$® and Infant-Toddler Educator AWARD$ Programs.
Through the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood National Center, CCSA licenses its
successful programs to states across the country and provides consultation to
others addressing child care concerns. Ensuring that every young child can grow
and learn in a healthy and safe learning environment is central to our mission.
CCSA supports the adoption of this rule that
would protect thousands of babies and children from lead exposure in child care
drinking and food prep water. Additionally, requiring cost-effective mitigation
where elevated lead water levels are found will have the added benefit of
getting rid of other harmful toxicants such as copper and chlorine by-products.
In North Carolina, public health officials
have been working for more than 30 years to eliminate childhood lead poisoning,
and have come very close to doing so. Childhood blood lead levels have dropped
dramatically population-wide. Unfortunately, some pockets of high exposure
remain. Ending lead exposure in drinking and food prep water is an important
step to move us toward the goal of no lead exposure for our state’s young
children. The proposed amendment will help get us there.
The best way to protect kids from lead exposure is to be proactive about getting rid of lead, rather than waiting for a child to be found with elevated levels in their blood. To do so, we must be willing to get rid of toxic lead in children’s environments. This rule will help us do just that. You can show your support of this rule and submit your comment to the North Carolina Commission for Public Health by August 2, 2019.
It’s summer in North
Carolina and it’s hot! Did you know
that North Carolina is ranked 6th compared to all other states for
child related deaths due to being left in a hot car?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the temperature inside a car (even with the windows cracked) can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit within the first 10 minutes. A child’s body overheats 3-5 times faster than an adult body and as a result, even for a short period of time, it is not safe to leave a young child alone in a car.
The majority of cases in which a
child has died from a heat related car death involve a parent who unknowingly
has forgotten an infant or toddler in the car. It might be that the parent has
had a change in routine and inadvertently forgets that a child is asleep in a
rear-facing car seat where the child can’t be seen or heard or that a caregiver
has become distracted or is tired and accidently forgets.
In 2018, throughout the country, a record-setting 52 young children died from heat related car deaths in 2018.
In North Carolina, 35 young children have died after being left in hot cars since 1990, the most recent involved the death of a 10-month old infant in May in Winston-Salem.
Nearly 90% of child deaths in hot cars occur among children under age three. To date this year, throughout the country, 21 children have died as a result of vehicular heat stroke, the most recent death occurred earlier last week in Richmond, Virginia.
We can prevent these tragedies. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched the Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock campaign to get the message out to all parents, grandparents and other caregivers to be alert about the harmful and potentially fatal effects of leaving children in hot vehicles.
NEVER leave a child in a vehicle unattended
Make it a habit to look in the back seat EVERY time you exit the car
ALWAYS lock the car and put the keys out of reach
If you see a child left in an unattended vehicle, call 911 and get help immediately
Kids and hot cars
can be a deadly combination. Don’t take the chance and always “Look
Before You Lock.”
CALL TO ACTION:
bills (H.R. 3593 and S. 1601, the Hot Cars Act of 2019) are pending in Congress
to require the U.S. Department of Transportation to issue a rule requiring that
all new cars be equipped with a child safety alert system (as well as a study
recommending ways to retrofit current cars to ensure that young children are
H.R. 3593 is under committee consideration in the House. S. 1601 has been approved in committee and is pending on the Senate calendar. If we can have a seatbelt reminder in cars, we can certainly have a reminder to check the backseat for young children.
There are steps we all can take to ensure that children are safe. We can double check the backseat always before locking the car. However, we can also urge our North Carolina Congressional delegation to cosponsor the Hot Cars Act and urge its passage.
It only takes a few seconds to dial the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Representative in the House or your Senator. If you aren’t sure who represents you, every state has two Senators. In North Carolina, Senator Richard Burr and Senator Thom Tillis represent us all regardless of which county we live in.
To find out who represents you in the House, click here and enter your zip code. The message is simple: In the Senate, ask that each Senator cosponsor S. 1601, the Hot Cars Act, to help prevent the death of young children in hot cars. In the House, ask that your Representative cosponsor H.R. 3593, the Hot Cars Act, to help prevent the death of young children in hot cars. And, then, ask them to support passage of the bill this year. It’s that simple!
Written by Colleen Burns, Summer
2019 Communications Intern from UNC Chapel Hill
Feuer is a mother of two with her younger son, Sam, in child care in Chapel
Hill. As any mother of a four-year-old would, Rachel expects her son to talk
about the toys he played with or the new friends he made that day at his child
care center. But one of his comments stands out among the rest.
raves about the food served at his child care center. “My son has asked me many
times to make Robert’s soup or Robert’s salad dressing or Robert’s chicken or
Robert’s greens,” Rachel says. “He has asked me many times why we can’t just
have Robert’s food at home, and was disappointed to find out that we can’t just
order it. Recently, he has started asking for Robert’s recipes daily, and
wondering why Robert doesn’t have a cookbook.”
Robert isn’t a cook at Sam’s child care center, though. Robert Cates has been a manager of the Meal Services program at Child Care Services Association (CCSA) for 20 years. He manages the kitchen in Orange County at the University United Methodist Church in downtown Chapel Hill and generates menus for all three of CCSA’s Meal Services kitchens. He also works closely with CCSA’s Meal Services program senior manager, Lisa Menna, who manages all three kitchens, to ensure meals meet the nutritional needs of the children by collaborating with dietitians and nutritionists as well as sourcing meat, produce and other products from local farmers.
What is the CCSA Meal Services?
operation for almost 30 years, CCSA’s Meal Services program began out of the
kitchen at the University United Methodist Church in Orange County. It expanded
with the construction of the Jim and Carolyn Hunt Child Care Resource Center in
Durham County, and in 2017-18’s fiscal year, the program served 1,300 children
daily in 24 centers.
Meal Services program provides two nutritious meals plus one nutritious snack per day to children
enrolled in participating child care centers in Durham, Orange and Wake County.
These scratch-made meals meet or exceed all USDA requirements for child
care and are compliant with the Child and Adult
Care Food Program (CACFP). CCSA serves as a food sponsor for CACFP, a federal program that sets standards for
nutritious meals for children ages birth-12 years, and subsidizes the cost of
food for child care programs, targeting children whose families qualify for
free and reduced lunch.
says, “CCSA makes it possible for smaller child care settings to provide
excellent food for kids and teachers. At the small [child care center] my son
attends, there is no space or budget to hire someone to cook meals.” This is
the case for many child care centers.
purchasing food in bulk, the Meal Services program allows child care centers to
purchase nutritional meals and snacks at cost, without having to maintain
expensive kitchens. It also allows directors to focus more of their attention
on quality child care instead of on shopping, menu planning and cooking.
also an educational process,” says Robert. Trying new foods can be an
adjustment for some children, “but the child care centers we’ve been serving
for a long time…know how to ease kids into it and help them to appreciate the
variety and appreciate things that they’ve never seen before,” Robert
order to be eligible for Meal Services, child care centers must have at least 3
stars or earn at least a 3-star rating within one year of implementing Meal
Services, and participating centers are also required to enroll in the USDA’s
Child and Adult Care Food Program. Meals also must be served family style at
the table as meals are not individually packaged, so that children can eat
together in a positive setting.
Why is the CCSA Meal Services
Many families in North Carolina face
the dual challenge of food insecurity and early childhood obesity. Child care
centers play a central role in the development of early eating habits. On
average, children receive more than 50 percent of their daily caloric intake at
child care. Therefore, the importance of these
meals cannot be understated. Nutrition and quality must be prioritized.
is a psychologist who has worked with many clients who have struggled with
healthy eating. “Early childhood is the time when children are developing
lifelong eating habits. If they become accustomed to eating lots of
preparations of healthy vegetables, proteins, legumes and whole grains, they
will be at an advantage for their entire life,” says Rachel.
Services focuses on creating meals that are made using local products and
in-season fruits and vegetables.
says, “We buy from Farmer Foodshare, which is a local food hub in Durham, and
they source from all over North Carolina. They get apples from the mountains
and produce from down east. And then we also source…from farmers in Orange,
Durham and Chatham counties.”
program ensures children have balanced menus that include one poultry, one
beef, one seafood and two vegetarian lunches per week.
have so many items on our [menu] list…There is quite a bit of variety and it
always depends on…what’s available seasonally…We follow the meal patterns
of the child care center food programs, and we also meet with nutritionists to
make sure we are going above and beyond in terms of the nutritional needs for
the children,” Robert shared.
newsletters let families learn more about what their child is eating and
learning about in the child care setting. They even include tips and recipes so
that parents like Rachel can try to incorporate these healthy foods at home.
Rachel says, “CCSA strikes a healthy balance of wholesome food that (according
to my kids) tastes excellent.”
shared, “We’re looking to hopefully expand what we’re doing into Chatham
County. There are groups working around the state to replicate our model in
rural areas around North Carolina. So, it’s a slow process, but people think
what we’re doing is worth trying to duplicate in other areas.”