Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards
See Also Acronyms/Abbreviations** (pages 541-543)*
Note: Some of these deﬁnitions were contained in the ﬁrst edition in
which they were reprinted with permission from Infectious Diseases
in Child Care Settings and Schools, a manual with information
for directors, caregivers/teachers, and parents/guardians, by the
Epidemiology Departments of Hennepin County Community Health,
St. Paul Division of Public Health, Minnesota Department of Health,
Washington County Public Health, and Bloomington Division of
Health. Other deﬁnitions are from the resources referenced at the
end of the deﬁnition. Others were supplied by our Technical Panels.
Please see the Acknowledgments section for a list of the Technical
Abrasion – An injury (such as a scrape) that occurs when the top
layer of skin is removed, with little blood loss.
Ref: American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). 2005. Pediatric ﬁrst aid
for caregivers and teachers. Ed. S. S. Aronson. Boston: Jones and
Bartlett; Elk Grove Village, IL: AAP. http://www.pedfactsonline.com.
Acute – Adjective describing an illness that has a sudden onset and
is of short duration.
Ref: Donoghue, E. A., C. A. Kraft, eds. 2010. Managing chronic
health needs in child care and schools: A quick reference guide. Elk
Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
Acrocyanosis – Blueness or pallor of the extremities usually asso-
ciated with pain and numbness and caused by vasomotor distur-
Adaptive equipment – Equipment (such as eye glasses, hearing
aids, wheelchairs, crutches, prostheses, oxygen tanks) that helps
children with special health care needs adapt to and function within
their surroundings. See also Appendix X.
Aflatoxin – A naturally occurring mycotoxin (fungus). This toxic
metabolite occurs in soil, decaying vegetation, hay, and grains un-
dergoing microbiological deterioration. Favorable conditions include
high moisture content and high temperature.
Ref: Cornell University Department of Animal Science. 2009. Afla-
toxins: Occurrence and health risks. http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/
Age-appropriate physical activity – See Physical activity
Age-appropriate solid foods – Also known as complementary
foods, foods introduced at the correct age to infants. Examples are
iron-fortiﬁed infant cereals and pureed meats for infants.
AIDS – See Human Immunodeﬁciency virus (HIV)
Air Quality Index (AQI) – A tool used by EPA and other agencies to
describe how clean the air is and whether or not the public should
be concerned for their health. The AQI is focused on health effects
that can happen within a few hours or days after breathing polluted
Ref: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 2009. The
air quality index. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/general/theair.html#indic.
Allergens – A substance (food, pollen, pets, mold, medication, etc.)
that causes an allergic reaction.
Ambient measurements – Measurements that help assess the
amount of air pollutants, noise, or lighting within a speciﬁc area.
Anaphylaxis – An allergic reaction to a speciﬁc substance (food,
pollen, pets, mold, medication, etc.) that causes dangerous and
possibly fatal complications, including the swelling and closure of
the airway that can lead to an inability to breathe.
Anemia – Having too little hemoglobin (hemoglobin carries oxygen
from the lungs throughout the body). The terms anemia, iron deﬁ-
ciency, and iron deﬁciency anemia often are used interchangeably
but are equivalent.
Ref: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2011. Iron and iron
Antibiotic prophylaxis – Medicine that is prescribed to prevent
infections in infants and children in situations associated with an
increased risk of serious infection with a speciﬁc disease.
Ref: Pickering, L. K., C. J. Baker, D. W. Kimberlin, S. S. Long,
eds. 2009. Red book: 2009 report of the Committee on Infectious
Diseases. 28th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of
Antibody – A protein substance produced by the body’s immune
defense system in response to something foreign. Antibodies help
protect against infections.
Antiseptic – Antimicrobial substances that are applied to the skin
or surfaces to reduce the number of microbial flora. Examples
include alcohols, chlorhexidine, chlorine, hexachlorophene, iodine,
chloroxylenol (PCMX), quaternary ammonium compounds, and
Ref: Boyce, J. M., D. Pittet. 2002. Guideline for hand hygiene in
healthcare settings: Recommendations of the Healthcare Infection
Control Practices Advisory Committee and the HICPAC/SHEA/
APIC/IDSA Hand Hygiene Task Force. MMWR 51(RR16): 1-44.
Antigen – Any substance that is foreign to the body. An antigen is
capable of causing a response from the immune system.
Antisiphon ballcock – An automatic valve in the toilet tank, the
opening and closing of which is controlled by a spherical float at the
end of a lever. The antisiphon ballcock does not allow dirty water to
be admixed with clean water.
Asbestos – A mineral ﬁber that can pollute air or water and cause
cancer or asbestosis when inhaled.
Friable asbestos – Any material containing more than one-percent
asbestos, and that can be crumbled or reduced to powder by
hand pressure. (May include previously non-friable material which
becomes broken or damaged by mechanical force.)
Ref: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2009. Terms of environ-
ment: Glossary, abbreviations and acronyms. http://www.epa.gov/
Asphyxial crib death – Death attributed to an item within the crib
that caused deprivation of oxygen or obstruction to normal breath-
ing of an infant.
Asphyxiation – Death or unconsciousness due to inadequate
oxygenation, the presence of noxious agents, or other obstructions
to normal breathing.
Aspiration – The inhalation of food, liquid, or a foreign body into a
person’s airway which results in choking/respiratory distress.
Assessment – An in-depth appraisal conducted to diagnose a con-
dition or determine the importance or value of a procedure.
Asymptomatic – Without symptoms. For example, a child may not
have symptoms of hepatitis infection, but may still shed hepatitis A
virus in the stool and may be able to infect others.
Autism spectrum disorders – A group of developmental disabili-
ties associated with problems in the brain. Children with ASDs have
trouble in three core areas of their development: language difﬁcul-
ties, especially no apparent desire to communicate, social interac-
*Corrected page number in second printing, August 2011
**Corrected to “Acronyms/Abbreviations” from “Acronyms” in second printing, August 2011