City Governments Can Help Protect Your Babies’ Brain Development

January 9, 2020
Photo of woman lifting happy child during daytime

Cities have incredible untapped assets and political strengths. Around the country, mayors are taking the lead on pressing social issues—climate change, infrastructure, economic revitalization, health care, and more. The Mayors Innovation Project supports and encourages this innovation by providing cutting-edge thinking and concrete examples that cities can use right away. As a national learning network, we work with mayors and their top advisors to lead by example, share their experiences with peers, and make this argument for cities nationally. 

Three cities currently part of HBBF’s Bright Cities program are also members of the Mayors Innovation Project. These cities are Anchorage AK, Boulder CO and Columbia SC

Cities in the Bright Cities program understand the importance of neurotoxic exposure reductions for babies, and they value strategic approaches in cities to accomplish this. One of the key goals of the Mayors Innovation Project is to provide opportunities for mayors to share their experiences, get advice from other mayors and experts and then continue to receive support upon returning home. Bright Cities Mayors have shared their lessons learned and successes implementing measures to protect babies brains like replacing napmats containing flame retardants at city-run daycare centers and providing toxic-free food to families living in urban food deserts.

We look forward to furthering our collaborative work together with Bright Cities. The Mayors Innovation Project will continue to share targeted tools, best practices and public outreach materials to help mayors continue protect their youngest residents from the worst neurotoxic exposures.

The time in a babies’ life from cradle to pre-K is a critical moment for their brain development process. Cities can effectively focus their work on this period of time in a babies’ life to reduce exposures to specific toxic chemicals to prevent lifelong negative impacts on cognitive function. Cities can also enhance education achievements through programs like universal public pre-K and closing the word gap. Cities can actively stem racial and educational inequities in the cost of pre- and postnatal healthcare and services.

Early in 2020, the Mayors Innovation Project will host an event that will address this pivotal life stage and will discuss collaborative strategies that cities have taken to protect and promote brain development in infants and young children. 

The panel presentation titled, From Cradle to Preschool: Holistic Approaches to Promote Future Success, will be held January 25, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Mayors and city leaders will have the opportunity to informally network during this event, discussing this and other topics related to high road governance. Register HERE for the meeting. Or, if you can’t attend the meeting, feel free to visit our website for innovative and concrete examples related to high road governance that cities can use right away.

Would your City like to learn more about the Mayors Innovation Project? Contact Ceri Jenkins, Mayors Innovation Project Co-Managing Director at

Is your City interested in being part of Healthy Babies Bright Futures’ Bright Cities program? To discuss this and anything else, please contact Bright Cities Program Director, Kyra Naumoff Shields at