Area 5: Health, Safety, and Nutrition


Children's safety at all times and in all settings is the first and foremost responsibility of adults who provide care for them. Safety encompasses not only the physical aspect but also the social and the emotional aspects.

Professionals working with young children must be knowledgeable of and meet all requirements dictated by laws and regulations regarding health, safety and nutrition. These include regular maintenance of the physical environment and all materials and equipment accessible to children; familiarity with signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect and of domestic violence as well as the course of action to take whenever necessary as mandated reporters; understanding of the importance of good nutrition to support healthy growth and physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development; and recognition of their role as advocates for policies and procedures that ensure the welfare of children and families.

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Core Competencies:

Select a competency below to view the competency profile, including the associated behaviors and skills.

The professional working with young children:

  • 5.1

    Has current, valid documentation of training in topics essential to children's health, safety, nutrition

  • 5.2

    Maintains organized, accessible, and up-to-date records related to the health, safety and nutrition of the children in their care

  • 5.3

    Knows and follows proper procedures as outlined by the applicable regulatory agencies

  • 5.4

    Takes precautions that protect children's health and maintains a healthy learning environment

  • 5.5

    Applies practices that encourage positive health behaviors and support the physical and mental well-being of children and families

  • 5.6

    Takes appropriate precautions and follows applicable procedures to ensure a safe learning environment

  • 5.7

    Is prepared for emergencies and injuries

  • 5.8

    Takes appropriate food safety precautions

  • 5.9

    Creates safe, healthy, enjoyable feeding and mealtime experiences for children

  • 5.10

    Encourages children to adopt good nutritional habits

  • 5.11

    Communicates with and provides support to families about children's nutrition and mealtime experiences


New York Works for Children