Children’s Health Month – How are you Celebrating?

fall-leaves.2By Stacy Murphy

October brings to mind different images for different people: bright fall colors; crispy nights,  packing away summer clothes and pulling out jackets and sweaters. But to me it also means one more important thing: Children’s Health Month.

Children’s health is my #1 priority and the reason that I come to work every day.  Indoor and environmental air quality is a big health issue for kids, since they spend most of their time indoors. Even normal outdoor kid activities, like sports or playing outside, can expose them to many environmental health hazards.

Here in Region 6 we have a lot of great Children’s Health Month programs planned, including our showcase event where a cross-agency team will provide education on pesticide safety and asthma management to migrant farm worker families at Dia de los Migrantes in San Juan, Texas.

But you don’t have to be an “expert” to carry the message of protecting kids from harm to your community. That’s the beauty of the Children’s Health Program. Anyone can take action to promote children’s health. For example, you could provide local organizations, like non-profits or faith-based groups, with information about how kids are affected by indoor and environmental air quality. You can access educational materials for free on the Children’s Health Month section of the EPA website.

Although October is officially Children’s Health Month, EPA really works to protect children’s health year-round. For example, the IAQ Tools for Schools program supports children in schools by maintaining safe and healthy learning environments, which can significantly impact achievement. Each January the IAQ Tools for Schools National Symposium provides an amazing opportunity to learn strategies and tactics to improve student and staff health, as well as reduce absenteeism, increase student and staff performance and enhance community relations. Everyone from the IAQ novice to national experts can benefit from attending the symposium. I’ll be there and I hope to see you there too.

About the author: Stacy Murphy joined EPA in 2005 and currently serves as the Schools Coordinator for EPA Region 6 where he manages programs to improve school indoor environments, including IAQ Tools for Schools and the Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign (S3C).

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