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Children’s Health Month: A Challenge for Everyone
Every October, since 1928, the first Monday of the month has been proclaimed National Child
Health Day by the President of the United States. Starting in 1992, the American Academy of
Pediatrics went a step further and declared the entire month of October as Children’s Health
Month. Whether you’re a parent or grandparent, a childcare provider or teacher, a coach or 4H volunteer, or just a neighbor that has small children living nearby, Children’s Health Month
provides an opportunity for all of us to make sure we are taking steps to ensure that the
children in our homes and communities have safe and healthy environments to play, learn, and
Three factors typically increase children’s risk from environmental hazards. First and foremost,
young children are still growing and developing. Because their systems are not fully developed,
they are not as capable of processing contaminants as adults. Second, children take in more air,
water, and food per pound of body weight than the average adult. This means they can take in
larger doses of any harmful substances. Finally, children’s behavior increases their risk. Playing
on the floor where dust collects and hand-to-mouth contact can allow children to take in
contaminants very easily.
Take the time this month to consider changes you can make in and around your home and
community to protect children. Consider these ideas.
Turn off your vehicle engine if you planned to be parked for more than 10 seconds to
reduce harmful vehicle emissions.
If you smoke, don’t do so around children.
Avoid open burning. In Kentucky, it’s illegal to burn household trash other than uncoated
paper products.
Store pesticides and toxic chemicals where children can't reach them. Also keep these items
in their original containers and never put them in other containers that can be mistaken for
food or drink.
Keep children, toys, and pets away when pesticides are applied (avoid unnecessary
pesticide use). Don't let them play in the area applied with pesticides for at least the time
recommended on the pesticide label.
Properly dispose of all toxic household chemicals. If you are not sure about how to dispose
of an item contact your local Solid Waste Coordinator or visit Earth911
is a website where you can enter the item you need to dispose of and your zip code.
Locations that accept that item for recycling or disposal will then be listed.
Let’s all take the time to make sure we are providing a healthy environment for our children.
What You Can Do to Protect Children from Environmental Risks. US EPA. Retrieved on August 9,
2012 from
Children’s Health Month Background Paper. US EPA. Retrieved on August 9, 2012 from$File/CHM_Ba
Ashley Osborne, Extension Associate for Environmental Issues. August 2012.