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Child Development

My child is still afraid of the dark. Is there something I can do to help him or should I just be patient?
Fear of the dark is usually one of the last childhood fears to be conquered. To understand children's fears including fear of the dark, read Understanding Children: Fears,

I plan to purchase a baby crib. What is the safe distance between crib bars to protect my baby?
Whether the crib is new or used, the crib bars should be no farther than 2 3/8 inches apart. For other safety suggestions, read Zero to One: Month One, 
Related Information:
Iowa State University Extension Publications
View child development and child care publications online

Does Iowa State University Extension have resources for child care providers?
For publications check the listing under Child Development, Iowa State University Extension Publications,  To find out about programs for child care providers in your area of the state, contact your county extension office or a Family Life Field Specialist that serves your area of the state by checking the following map,
Related Information:
Child Care Resources and Programs
Iowa State University Extension offers education to child care professionals, parents, employers, and communities to improve the quality of care for all children.

What is the cost of raising a child?
The USDA issues a report listing the expenditures on children by families including housing, food, clothing, child care, education, health care, transportation and miscellaneous expenses. A chart listing these expenditures can be found at the website:

Reference: Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, USDA

My child likes school, but is upset every morning when its time to leave our house for school. Is there something I can do to make the transition easier?

Connect with the Cyfernet website at and  to read two short articles which will give you some insight about separation anxiety and how you can help.

What is the risk of radon exposure to children?

Radon is a known carcinogen. There are currently  no conclusive data on whether children are at greater risk than adults from radon. We do know that risks for everyone are related to how much radon is in your home, how much time is spent in the home, and smoking or exposure to smoke. In a child's world risks relate to the level of radon in their home, school or child care facility; how much time they spend in areas with high levels of radon; and whether or not adults in the home smoke. All of these variables can be controlled. Testing for radon is easy and inexpensive. High radon levels in buildings can be lowered. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) figures that radon levels in homes can be readily lowered for about $800-$2500 with an average cost of $1200.

Since children spend a considerable amount of time in child care, Iowa law states that Child Care Centers must have testing performed as prescribed by the Iowa Department of Public Health.  For more information read Measuring Radon in Iowa Child Care Facilities for the Iowa Department of Public Health, Midwest Universities Radon Consortium, University of Minnesota

Reference: A Citizen's Guide to Radon, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Related Information:
U.S. Environmental Protecition Agency
Publications relating to radon including radon reduction in schools and other large buildings, concerns of tenants, information for home buyers and sellers, considerations for new construction. Some publications available in Spanish.

Some of the publications on this site are Adobe Acrobat pdf files. For more information about pdf files or to download a free copy of the Acrobat Reader, please consult the pdf help section.

Hotline Phone Number: 1-800-262-3804 (in Iowa) or 1-800-854-1678 (in Minnesota) | Email:

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