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Health Information for the Public

How Asthma-Friendly Is Your Child-Care Setting?

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
National Asthma Education and Prevention Program
NAEPP School Asthma Education Subcommittee

Children with asthma need proper support in child-care settings to keep their asthma under control and be fully active. Use the checklist below to find out how well your child-care setting assists children with asthma:

  • Is the child-care setting free of tobacco smoke at all times?
  • Is there good ventilation in the child-care setting? Are allergens and irritants that can make asthma worse reduced or eliminated? Check if any of the following are present:
    • Cockroaches
    • Dust mites (commonly found in humid climates in pillows, carpets, upholstery, and stuffed toys)
    • Mold
    • Furry pets
    • Strong odors or fumes from art and craft supplies, pesticides, paint, perfumes, air fresheners, and cleaning chemicals
  • Is there a medical or nursing consultant available to help child-care staff write policy and guidelines for managing medications in the child-care setting, reducing allergens and irritants, promoting safe physical activities, and planning field trips for students with asthma?
  • Are child-care staff prepared to give medications as prescribed by each child's physician and authorized by each child's parent? May school-aged children carry their own asthma medicines when appropriate? Is there someone available to supervise children while taking asthma medicines and monitor correct inhaler use?
  • Is there a written, asthma action plan for each child in case of a severe asthma episode (attack)? Does the plan make clear what action to take? Whom to call? When to call?
  • Does a nurse, respiratory therapist, or other knowledgeable person teach child-care staff about asthma, asthma management plans, reducing allergens and irritants, and asthma medicines? Does someone teach all the older children about asthma and how to help a classmate who has it?
  • Does the child-care provider help children with asthma participate safely in physical activities? For example, are children encouraged to be active? Can children take or be given their medicine before exercise? Are modified or alternative activities available when medically necessary?

If the answer to any question is "no," children in your child-care setting may be facing obstacles to controlling their asthma. Uncontrolled asthma can hinder a child's attendance, participation, and progress in school. Child-care staff, health professionals, and parents can work together to remove obstacles and promote children's health and development.

Contact the organizations listed for information about asthma and helpful ideas for making school policies and practices more asthma-friendly. Federal and State laws are in place to help children with asthma.

Resources for Families and School Staff

National Asthma Education and Prevention Program
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Information Center
(301) 251-1222
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov

NAEPP School Materials
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-pro/resources/lung/

Allergy & Asthma Network
Mothers of Asthmatics
(800) 878-4403 or (703) 641-9595
www.breatherville.org

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
(800) 822-ASMA or (414) 272-6071
www.aaaai.org

American Academy of Pediatrics
(800) 433-9016 or (847) 228-5005
www.aap.org

American Association for Respiratory Care
(972) 243-2272
www.aarc.org

American Association of School Administrators
703-841-0700
www.aasa.org

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
(800) 842-7777 or (847) 427-1200
http://www.acaai.org

American Lung Association
For the affiliate nearest you, call
(800) LUNG USA
www.lungusa.org

American School Health Association
(330) 678-1601
www.ashaweb.org

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
(800) 7-ASTHMA or (202) 466-7643
www.aafa.org

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Division of Adolescent and School Health
(800) CDC-INFO
www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/asthma

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Environmental Health
Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects
(800) CDC-INFO
www.cdc.gov/asthma

National Association of School Boards
(703) 838-6722
www.nsba.org/SchoolHealth

National Association of School Nurses
(866) 627-6767
www.nasn.org

National Association of State Boards of Education
(703) 684-4000
www.nasbe.org

U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights, Customer Service Team
(800) 421-3481 or (202) 205-5413
www.ed.gov/offices/OCR

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Asthma can be controlled; expect nothing less.
October 2008

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