Your Family's Health & Safety
Parents have the primary, long-term responsibility for their children's health, so it is critical for them to be involved in the health care process. Head Start and Early Head Start programs strive to provide families with a wide variety of health-related information and support them in maintaining a safe, healthy, active life.
Required screenings including vision, hearing, speech, development, behavior, and a well-child physical exam are based on your state's Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) schedule. Obtaining and developing a relationship with a medical home will ensure the child has an ongoing, reliable source of accessible care. Following through with all recommended evaluations and treatment plans is another important step in keeping children as healthy as possible.
Growing Healthy Flipchart [PDF, 3.1MB]
Regular and periodic dental examinations by a dental home is a way to ensure ongoing, continuous, accessible dental care. Most states now require two dental examinations per each 12-month period. Dental cleaning, topical fluoride, and dental health education are also important components of maintaining a healthy mouth. Children brush their teeth at least once daily at their Head Start or Early Head Start center and they should brush at least once a day at home.
Brush Up on Oral Health: Recipe's for Healthy Snacks [PDF, 632KB]
Oral Health: Tips for Families [PDF, 68KB]
Mental health involves the social and emotional development of children and the emotional well-being of families and staff. As the primary educators and role models for children, parents play a critical role in the development of social skills, self-control, and confidence. Parents support the progress of trust, self-esteem, and identity by being responsive and expressing respect and affection toward the child. Understanding typical developmental stages and abilities of young children will help parents best support their child's successful interactions with their peers and adults.
Mental Health: Tips for Families [PDF, 131KB]
Nutrition includes meeting each child's needs, feeding requirements, and feeding schedule. A nutrition assessment sets the stage for providing quality nutrition services to each child. Regular communication between families and staff helps to ensure that nutritional needs are met in the program and at home. Serving a wide variety of foods, both familiar and new, not only promotes good nutrition but also helps children to broaden their food preferences.
Safety and Injury Prevention
Head Start staff and parents ensure that children have safe places to grow and learn, protect them from danger, and teach them what to do to be healthy and safe. Parents are continually multitasking by observing their child, predicting what their child might do, and then redirecting or supporting them so they remain unharmed. Adults must consistently model and explain safe behaviors so they will become second-nature to children.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is an independent federal regulatory agency committed to protecting consumers and families from products that can cause a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard, or can injure children. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of such things as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.
Last Reviewed: January 2017
Last Updated: January 24, 2017