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What is TOP Star?

TOP Star stands for Teaching Obesity Prevention in Early Child Care Settings. Top Star is a FREE Utah-based program that helps early childcare facilities improve their nutrition, physical activity, and breastfeeding policies. 

What are the benefits of TOP Star?

Choosing to be part of the TOP Star program means we know that the changes we make within our facility will have a lifelong impact on the children we care for. 

Parents can rest assured knowing your children are in a healthy environment. Healthy behaviors learned in our center may transfer to your home, making the healthy choice an easy choice. The early years are the best time for children to develop lifelong habits that reduce the risk of obesity and chronic diseases.

What does following TOP Star guidelines look like in your facility?

We make sure children have thoroughly washed their hands before each meal and offer meals that are healthy by opting for organic and whole grain options when possible. Water and reduced fat milk are served to children 2 years and over - whole milk for children ages 12 months to 23 months. Meals are served family-style so caregivers sit down to eat meals with the children. We allow time for children to have physical activity through indoor and outdoor play. We also provide a quiet space for breastfeeding and/or pumping mothers to feed their children and offer chilled water to them.

How do you celebrate holidays and special occasions in your center?

We celebrate with limited sugary treats. If parents wish to bring in something to help celebrate, we ask that non-food type items are brought in. We also celebrate with healthy snacks and non-food items. During celebrations and holiday parties, children are offered developmentally appropriate servings of fruits and vegetables rather than foods with a high percentage of sugars, salts, or fats. Celebrations/holidays will focus on non-food, fun-filled activities, such as scavenger hunts, arts and craft projects and/or field trips.

What are ways you implement obesity prevention?

Caregivers provide opportunities for children to learn about serving and choosing healthful foods and portions, enjoy mealtime as a socialization opportunity, avoid engaging in other activities while eating, participate in recommended amounts of structured and unstructured moderate to vigorous physical activity every day, and limit their screen time while in our care.

Will my children receive physical activity or screen time in your care?

Weather permitting, children have the opportunity for outside play every day. Children do not get screen time in our center. Caregivers will read to each child during the day.

For infants up to 12 months old, tummy time is especially import to help promote muscle and bone strengthening. At least 30 minutes a day of supervised tummy time is provided for infants. Infants are exposed to a variety of stimulating and developmentally appropriate activities, including going outside on a daily basis. Caregivers may take children on walks, to play on the playground, or other activities that exposes children to nature.

For toddlers 12-36 months, children are provided with at least 30 minutes of structured activity and at least 60 minutes of unstructured activity each day. Toddlers are not seated for periods of more than 30 minutes.  Children have many opportunities for exercise, such as going on walks, dancing, going through an obstacle course, playing ball games, pulling and riding on wheeled toys, and other activities developmentally appropriate activities.

For preschool aged children 3-5 years old, children are provided with at least 120 minutes of active play time each day. Children are not seated for periods of more than 30 minutes. Children have many opportunities for exercise, such such as going on walks, dancing, going through an obstacle course, playing ball games, pulling and riding on wheeled toys, and other activities developmentally appropriate activities.

Can I come into your center to breastfeed my baby?

Yes! Breastfeeding in our center is welcomed and encouraged. Staff members are empathetic and provide privacy and encouragement to breastfeeding mothers. Caregivers encourage and support breastfeeding mothers to continue breastfeeding, including feeding expressed human milk when the mother is unable to breastfeed her infant. Infant formula will not be given to children without consent from the parents. Breastfeeding mothers and staff may store expressed milk in the refrigerator or the mother's personal cooler. Containers shall be labeled with the mother's name. Educational literature and breastfeeding handouts are available when requested to help with breastfeeding support.

What are your protocols for feeding my infant?

Infants are fed on cue and are not fed beyond satiety. The infant stops the feeding. Staff will follow the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics for bottle-warming. Staff use a bottle warmer for bottle-warming, or, if a bottle warmer is not available, by placing bottles in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes. Staff sprinkle a few drops of milk on the wrist to make sure the milk is lukewarm so it does not scald or harm the baby.

Staff will plan with parents their baby’s regular feeding schedule, how the baby is to be fed, how breast milk is to be stored and served, and what to do if the baby is hungry and mom is either unavailable or her supply of expressed breast milk is gone. Artificial baby milk (formula) and solid foods will only be provided if the parent requests. Babies will be held closely when feeding and bottles will never be propped.

Staff are trained on the proper handling of breastmilk. All childcare center staff are trained in the proper storage and handling of human milk. The center will follow guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in ensuring that breast milk is properly treated to avoid waste.

Expressed Human Milk:
Expressed human milk must be in a sanitary BPA-free bottle or, if the milk will be fed within 72 hours of collection, in a breast milk bag/bottle system to which a nipple is or can be attached for feeding. Human milk is stored immediately on arrival at the facility in a refrigerator or, if frozen, a freezer. Families are encouraged to bring human milk in volumes appropriate for a single feeding and, in addition, in some small quantities that can be used judiciously and preserved at breast feeding.

Formula and breastmilk bottles brought from home must be:

All formula and breastmilk bottles will be stored in labeled bags in the infant kitchen refrigerator. Once a bottle is warmed, the caregiver will have no more than 1 hour to feed the contents of the bottle to the baby. Caregivers will provide parents with a written daily record of their infant’s eating and sleeping patterns. 

Do you have additional breastfeeding resources available?