Health Department

Start Right Childcare Program

Start Right Childcare Program
by Larry D. Jones, MPH, Health Director
July 9, 2013

Earlier this year, the Independence Health Department started a voluntary program that focuses on the health and safety of our children enrolled in childcare. The Start Right Childcare Program recognizes those facilities that go above and beyond the minimum licensing standards to ensure the best health practices and policies for their kids.

Participating facilities are eligible to earn a Start Right Facility Certificate when they complete all three levels in seven different childcare categories including emergency preparedness, communicable disease, indoor safety, outdoor safety, safe sleep practices for infants, nutrition, physical activity, and general safety.

Beginning in December this year, the participating facilities will be listed on the Health Department’s web page along with the levels of completion of the program.

With our children’s safety always on our minds, here are some tips provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that are aligned with the requirements of Start Right. Parents, you can also do these at home!

Make your home smoke free! Secondhand smoke contains at least 250 known toxic chemicals and can causes health conditions, such as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and respiratory infections, in children.

Keep up-to-date with your children’s immunizations in order to protect them from catching or spreading disease. Vaccines are especially important when your child is enrolled in a daycare or childcare facility since they are around many other children every day.

For infants, make sure you always put your baby to sleep on its back to prevent SIDS. Limit screen time to a minimum. For children younger than 2 years of age, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that it’s best if babies do not watch any screen media.

For toddlers, serve healthier foods and drinks, and limit television and other screen time to no more than two hours per day. Encourage free play as much as possible. It helps your toddler stay active and strong and helps him develop motor skills.

For preschoolers, be cautious when letting your child ride his/her tricycle. Keep your child on the sidewalk and away from the street and always have your child wear a helmet.

Watch your child at all times, especially when playing outside. Eat meals with your child whenever possible. Let your child see you enjoying fruits, vegetables, and whole grains at meals and snacks. Your child should eat and drink only a limited amount of food and beverages that contain added sugars, solid fats, or salt.

Information provided by If you have questions about our new Right Start Program, call 816-325-7185.