Health, Safety and Nutrition

What do high quality caregivers, teachers and administrators need to know?

Pathways Core Knowledge Areas are distinct categories of study that prepare early childhood professionals to facilitate children’s learning and development.  For each Core Knowledge Area, there are competencies defining a progressive attainment of understanding, knowledge and skills. As early childhood professionals advance in their careers, the content (competency objective) of the training will become more advanced based on what the professional needs to know at his/her level of experience. Alabama Pathway has adopted eight (8) Core Knowledge Areas with related basic, intermediate and advanced competencies.

Core Knowledge Area:

Health, Safety and Nutrition – Understand the major issues affecting the health and safety of young children; know how to establish and maintain an environment that ensures each child’s healthy development, safety, and nourishment; understand health record keeping and its policy considerations; know how to implement food safety practices, menu planning, nutrition activities for children, CPR, First Aid, and accident and infectious disease prevention.

Rationale: An early care and education program promotes good health and nutrition and provides a safe environment for children. Basic health and safety management procedures contribute to the prevention of childhood illness and communicable diseases. A safe environment prevents and reduces injuries for young children who are only beginning to recognize dangerous situations. Good nutrition is important to the physical and intellectual development of young children. Meals and snacks are used to encourage good nutritional eating habits.




HSN-1 Demonstrates a developing awareness of universal health precautions, the symptoms of common early childhood disease and the spread of infection by following procedures to implement healthy practices in programs for young children that minimize the spread of infection and communicable diseases including application of consistent hand washing practices and cleaning and disinfecting play areas and materials daily.

HSN-2 Demonstrates a developing awareness of basic health practices by following procedures for the identification and care of sick children and by supporting children in developing healthy practices in the daily routines of eating, toileting, washing hands, tooth brushing, etc.


HSN-3 Demonstrates application of good nutrition policies and practices by supplying infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school age children with adequate nutrition.

HSN-4 Demonstrates a developing awareness of nutrition by identifying the nutritional needs of young children for optimal physical, social, emotional and cognitive growth.

HSN-5 Demonstrates a developing awareness of good nutritional practices for young children by providing a positive, relaxed, and pleasant atmosphere for children during meal and snack time and by providing nutrition education activities for children.


HSN-6 Demonstrates knowledge of safety policies and precautions for young children by the use of emergency medical procedures, giving emergency instructions using words easily understood by children, following plans for monthly fire drills for moving children to safety, maintaining and using first aid procedures and supplies, teaching children simple safety rules and by administering infant/child CPR when necessary.

HSN-7 Demonstrates a developing awareness of safety for children by providing for the routine care and maintenance of materials and equipment, keeping the environment free of hazards and debris and by anticipating and preventing potentially dangerous situations.

HSN-8 Demonstrates a developing awareness of the adult’s role and legal responsibility in protecting children by identifying the signs and symptoms and the procedures for the referral and reporting of child abuse and neglect·.




HSN-9 Demonstrates knowledge of healthy environments for young children by planning, maintaining and facilitating environments and procedures that prevent illness and promote children’s health and well-being.·

HSN-10 Demonstrates knowledge of healthy environments for young children by using health appraisals and management procedures and making referrals when necessary.

HSN-11 Demonstrates knowledge of health practices by communicating frequently with parents about children’s health, communicable diseases and medications and cooperating with parents and health specialists.


HSN-12 Demonstrates knowledge of the nutritional needs of children by making provisions for children with dietary or cultural requirements when planning meals and snacks.

HSN-13 Demonstrates knowledge of nutritional regulations by compliance with state and federal regulations, as well as center policies and procedures, as they relate to meal planning and management of food and nutrition programs.

HSN-14 Demonstrates knowledge of optimal nutritional practices for young children by communicating with parents about children’s nutrition and by planning and implementing nutrition education activities for children and families.


HSN-15 Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of the effects of the environment on a child’s behavior and safe development by planning and implementing safe routines and indoor/outdoor environments (including space, lighting and arrangement).

HSN-16 Demonstrates the ability to recognize the overt and subtle signs of emotional distress, child abuse and neglect by compliance with the state statues regarding the responsibilities of reporting child abuse and neglect.

HSN-17 Demonstrates knowledge of safety policies and procedures by maintaining an easily accessible and current list of phone numbers for emergency services and for contacting parents, directing practice procedures for fire and other emergencies including practice with children with special needs, enforcing rules with regard to pick up procedures for transporting children and explaining cause and effect to children in dangerous situations by using simple language and demonstration as much as possible.

HSN-18 Demonstrates knowledge of optimal safety for young children by discussing safety information with parents, providing parents with community resources and by maintaining updated information about safety standards for toys and equipment and sharing this information with



HSN-19 Demonstrates an achieved level of competence to ensure each child’s individual health needs by developing and following procedures and guidelines for assessing and meeting those needs, which include provisions for evaluation of the program and environment, collaboration with various health and safety professionals as well as communication of healthy practices and procedures to staff and families.


HSN-20 Demonstrates an achieved level of competence to ensure that each child’s individual nutritional needs are met by developing and following procedures and guidelines for assessing those needs, including provisions for evaluating the program and environment, collaborating with nutritional specialists, communicating good nutritional practices and procedures to staff and families.


HSN-21 Demonstrates an achieved level of competence to ensure that each child’s individual safety needs are met by developing and following special procedures and guidelines for assessing those needs, including provisions for evaluating the program and environment, collaborating with safety professionals and communicating safety procedures and practices to staff and families.

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