- Offers the highest number of car-seat inspection stations per capita, with one station for every 666 children; some states have as few as one station for every 37,782 children
- Operates the most licensed childcare centers per capita in the U.S.: one for every 55 children under age 5
- Has the third-highest early childhood vaccination rate in the country, with 80% of toddlers receiving the full complement of appropriate shots
A healthy baby can easily rack up $15,000 in hospital and doctor bills during the first year of life. In Vermont, nearly 97% of children have health insurance -- the most in the nation -- to foot the majority of the costs, while in some other states fewer than 80% of children are covered.
One of the main reasons for the difference: In most states, children are eligible for government-supported insurance if their parents' income is 200% above the federal poverty level -- about $37,000 annually for a family of four. Vermont's program, called Dr. Dynasaur, accepts families of four that earn up to $55,200 per year -- 300% above the federal poverty level.
"Since 1989, we have been providing for middle-income families who can't afford the high cost of health insurance," says Charles Smith, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Human Services in Waterbury. Only Connecticut, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Tennessee have income cutoffs as high as Vermont's, according to a recent report by the Children's Defense Fund.