Stepping Stones to Caring for Our Children, 3rd Edition (SS3)


The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education (NRC) is pleased to announce the release of Stepping Stones to Caring for Our Children, 3rd Edition (SS3).  SS3 presents 138 essential standards intended to reduce the rate of morbidity and mortality in child care and early education settings.

This valuable resource was developed with our collaborative partners, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Public Health Association (APHA).  Support for this project was provided through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal  and Child Health Bureau.

The following significant content, format changes and additions were made in the Third Edition, as compared to Stepping Stones to Using Caring for Our Children, Second Edition (SS2):

  • New and updated standards include safe sleep, handling and feeding of human milk, introduction of solid foods to infants, monitoring children’s development, unimmunized children, preventing expulsions, and availability of drinking water.
  • Conversion charts to locate standards in SS2 and their new numbering in SS3 and vice versa.
  • The online PDF version contains links that enable you to interactively navigate within the document and locate additional information from the Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs, 3rd Edition (CFOC3) database.

Suggestions for Use of the Compliance/Comparison Checklist:

  • By licensing staff who want to compare Stepping Stones standards to the subject areas covered in their state regulations and determine where there are gaps and where regulations should be added.
  • By caregivers/teachers/directors who want to be sure they are complying with those standards that have the most potential to prevent harm to children in their settings.
  • By families who want to be sure their child’s early care and education program is complying with these important standards.
  • By child care health consultants and trainers to assess what topics need to be covered

Source: National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education

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