Buying A Home: The 10 Best States for Babies

2. Hawaii

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Jessie Hartland

  • Is one of 10 states that require licensed childcare providers to undergo background and child-abuse registry checks, in addition to both state and FBI criminal-background checks
  • Has enacted breastfeeding legislation that makes it illegal to demote or penalize an employee because she nurses or expresses milk at work
  • Offers a wide selection of pediatricians, boasting 1 for every 936 children under 18 -- the eighth-highest ratio in the U.S.

Hawaii has some of the most pristine air in the country, according to the recent American Lung Association (ALA) state-by-state air-quality rating. Three factors join to keep the state's air super-clean. "Because we're not as industrialized as many other states, we don't have as many pollutants being emitted into the atmosphere," says Wilfred Nagamine, manager of the Clean Air Branch of the Environmental Management Division at the Hawaii Department of Health in Honolulu. "We're also blessed with frequent trade winds that blow the air pollution we have away from the island. And since we don't have any neighboring states, we don't have to contend with another state's air pollution affecting the quality of our air."

But Nagamine stresses that even though the state's air is clean, he's doesn't take it for granted. Hawaii's industries are subject to strict air-quality regulations and are fined if they don't comply. The state also promotes clean-air strategies in schools. And through brochures, presentations, and visits, farmers and gardeners are strongly encouraged to mulch their yard waste rather than burning it, which can be a source of pollution.

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