Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education is a federally funded program through a Cooperative Agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). The Section of Environmental Epidemiology and Toxicology (SEET) has partnered with ATSDR to reduce children’s risk of being exposed to dangerous chemicals during their care. Our goal is to protect children in early care and education (ECE) facilities from potential exposure to chemicals such as arsenic, lead, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) through the education of childcare professionals regarding risks of exposure and by providing guidance to childcare professionals when choosing a location for a facility.
Childcare Centers and Natural Disasters
In this course, you'll learn how to prepare and recover your Early Care and Education (ECE) facility for natural and man-made disasters. Click here to take this interactive training.
Elements of Safe Early Care and Education Siting
There are 4 things to consider before choosing a location for a new childcare facility:
- Former use of the site
- Nearby sites and nearby activities
- Naturally occurring contamination
- Safe Drinking Water
Former use of the site
Review documents such as land records, databases, or other resources related to current and prior ownership of the property to find out whether any businesses on the property could have used or disposed of hazardous contaminants.
Some locations of possible concern include:
- Dry cleaners
- Gas stations
- Auto repair shops
- Hair/ nail salons
- Funeral homes
- Industrial/ manufacturing factories
- Former agricultural sites.
Visit the site to look for evidence that the potential location of the facility may contain or have contained hazardous substances.
Examples of items on the property to look for include:
- Metal drums or barrels
- Old cars or vehicle parts
- Discarded white goods (i.e., old appliances)
- Construction and demolition debris
- Barns and farm machinery/ equipment.
The construction of the building may also give you clues as to the prior use, such as a loading dock, large delivery doors, or old brick construction resembling a factory. back to top
Visit the site or do a windshield tour (observing the area from a car) to see whether there are properties surrounding the site that might be using hazardous materials that could affect the childcare. Some nearby or adjacent properties of concern include gas stations, auto repair shops, dry cleaners, print shops, funeral homes, hair/ nail salons, and landfills/ dumps. It is possible for hazardous contaminants from these properties to move to other surrounding properties. back to top
Find out whether any areas of naturally occurring contamination (such as arsenic in water, radon in buildings, or asbestos in soil) could affect the proposed day care program site. Get assistance with finding areas of naturally occurring contamination from parish or local health departments, state or county environmental agencies, or the U.S. Geological Survey. back to top
It is important to know the type of water system used by the childcare facility. If the water comes from a private system (a private well or cistern), it should be treated as recommended by the provider/ manufacturer and the well should be tested at regular intervals. For more information on private wells, visit the Louisiana Well Owner Network. If the water comes from a public water system you can obtain a copy of your water system’s “Consumer Confidence Report” from your local health department.
Safe Siting Survey
SEET has developed a questionnaire for childcare providers to use when considering a location for their facility. This questionnaire may not be a comprehensive list of potential hazards that you may find on or near your property but should serve as a starting point when selecting a location. All completed questionnaires will be sent to SEET for review. Upon review of the completed questionnaire a member of our staff may contact you to provide additional guidance. To access the questionnaire click here