Parents and other caregivers now have access to the same tools child care centers and early childhood educators use to help them make healthy choices for children.
The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) has launched the electronic edition of the handbook, marking the first time the physician-reviewed, easy-to-use guide is available online to read, print or download.
"This handbook is the go-to resource for child care centers in Arkansas, and now will be available to anyone serious about keeping children healthy and safe," said Tonya Russell, director of the DHS Division of Children Care and Early Childhood Education. "It provides a wealth of information that is easily accessible and easy to understand."
The handbook is now in its 6th edition and available for free, click here. It has 17 color-coded chapters that provide in-depth information on more than a dozen topics including first aid, preventing the spread of diseases in places where children congregate, preventing injuries, safe food handling, nutrition, dental health, child maltreatment and child growth and development.
The idea for the handbook came nearly two decades ago when Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former director of the Arkansas Department of Health and U.S. Surgeon General, came across a healthy child handbook produced by the State of Nebraska and thought Arkansas child care providers could benefit from the same kind of information.
The 2012 version of the handbook has been coordinated and produced by the DHS Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education, Health and Nutrition Unit with funding provided by the Arkansas Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Initiative Grant. Nearly a dozen Arkansas state agencies and organizations that work with children and families provided input for the handbook.