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Environmental Health: Children and the Environment

The environment plays a large role in children’s health. Children are more vulnerable to environmental hazards than adults for several reasons, including:

  • Children eat more food, drink more water, and breathe more air relative to their body size than adults.
  • Children’s behaviors, like putting their hands in their mouths and playing on the ground, can put them in contact with harmful materials more than adults.
  • Children are still growing, meaning environmental hazards like lead exposure that can affect brain development is more harmful to them than adults.

For these reasons, it’s important to take steps to keep children’s environments safe.

In the home

Find resources on our healthy homes webpage to keep your home safe from indoor health hazards.

Steps you can take include:

Outside the home

To keep your kids safe while outside, take these steps:

In child care centers

Children spend lots of time in a child care facility or day care. Our Choose Safe Places Program helps child care providers in Wisconsin choose environmentally safe locations for new child care centers by offering free consultation services. This applies to providers of licensed group and family centers. Visit our website to learn more and participate.

A toddler playing with blocks on an area rug at home
Last revised February 6, 2023