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Preventing unintentional injuries in US early care and education: Are state regulations sufficient?

Unintentional injuries are currently the leading cause of death among US children older than one. As many children spend significant time in non-parental child care, these injuries often occur outside of the home. This study examined US state early care and education (ECE) regulations related to injury prevention. We reviewed ECE regulations for child care centers and family child care homes through August 2018 for all 50 states and DC ("states"). We compared these regulations to six components from two national health and safety standards on injury prevention ("standards"). One state had regulations that met all six standards for both centers and homes; sixteen states had regulations that met at least five for both. Most states required child care providers to be trained in emergency preparedness (42 for centers; 38 for homes) or first aid including CPR (50 for centers; 46 for homes). Additionally, most states required providers in centers and homes to notify parents (47 and 41, respectively) and the state (40 and 41, respectively) when a child was injured; these requirements varied greatly in both the timing and manner of notification. Two-thirds of states required that providers keep copies of a completed injury form on the premises. However, few states (5 for centers, 3 for homes) required providers to take corrective action after an injury. Although most states had some injury prevention regulations, they varied greatly across states. More states should require corrective action after an injury to help prevent future injuries from occurring. (author abstract)
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