Proximity of Licensed Child Care Facilities

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Douglas Houston, MA, Paul Ong, PhD, Jun Wu, PhD, and Arthur Winer, PhD

Objectives. We assessed child care facilities’ proximity to heavily traveled roadways in an attempt to estimate the extent of potential exposure of young children to vehicle-related pollution in this understudied microenvironment.

Methods. We examined approximately 24 000 licensed child care facilities in California located within 200 m of heavily traveled roadways.

Results. Approximately 57000 of the available slots in California child care centers (7% of the overall capacity) are in facilities located within 200 m (650 ft) of roadways averaging 50000 or more vehicles per day, and another 172000 (21%) are in facilities located within 200 m of roadways averaging 25 000 to 49 000 vehicles per day. Facilities providing care to infants or preschool-aged children and facilities located in disadvantaged areas were more often situated in mediumor high-traffic areas.

Conclusions. Additional research is needed to further clarify the significance of the child care microenvironment in terms of potential childhood exposures to vehicle-related pollutants. Design strategies, notification standards, and distancebased siting restrictions should be considered in the facility licensing process and in land use and transportation planning.

July 14, 2008