This module is for Topic 5

Topic 5 - Healthy and Safety

child care provider with two babies playing with toys
A safe early learning environment nurtures healthy child development.

Children do not always understand the fundamentals of safety, health or nutrition. They may not have the experience to know that sliding down the banister of a staircase can cause an injury. They cannot understand why donuts, which are sweet and delicious, are not a healthy breakfast. In short, children need to be taught the elements of safety, health and nutrition so that they learn to make appropriate choices for themselves as they grow.

Creating a safe child care program requires that caregivers constantly evaluate their indoor and outdoor environments for risks. Below are a few key questions to ask:

  • Is the center compliant with current safety regulations?
  • What hazards exist?
  • What modifications can be made to make the environment safer?

Use these questions to evaluate the child care setting featured in the following interactive and determine what indoor and outdoor risk factors the provider has overlooked. Click though the illustration and test your ability to spot seven potential safety hazards in this child care program.


Maintaining a healthy diet has wide-reaching consequences. In addition to helping individuals feel better, eating well and maintaining a healthy weight can help society at large by driving down health care costs. For many years, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) used the "food pyramid" as a way to visually depict the types and quantities of food that Americans should eat each day. But in 2011 the USDA replaced the food pyramid with a visual called "MyPlate."

MyPlate focuses on five general food groups – vegetables, fruits, grains, protein and dairy -- plus healthy oils. It offers an illustration showing the percentage of each meal’s calories that should come from each food group.

Click through the following interactive to learn more about each section of MyPlate.