NEW JERSEY -- Dr. Arturo Brito was recently a guest on Caucus: New Jersey with Steve Adubato, where he discussed the effects of toxic stressors on children from the ages zero to three, and how New Jersey lawmakers are helping to combat this critical issue.

Toxic stressors, explained Dr. Brito, are those stressors that can be persistent, chronic and severe. Infants and young children exposed to toxic stress tended to become adults who had not only increased emotional and mental health issues, but also had high incidents of physical and medical problems as well. Studies have shown this connection for decades.

Dr. Brito is Executive Director of The Nicholson Foundation, a nonprofit focusing on the health and well-being of vulnerable citizens of the state of New Jersey. The Nicholson Foundation is also a partner in the statewide public awareness campaign, Right From the Start New Jersey, established to educate the public and state policy makers about the critical importance of the early years of child development, from birth to three.

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“We want to make sure that...everyone in this state understands that they can help infants and toddlers in those first few years by being there for them, making sure they’re not exposed to stressful events that can become toxic, and when they are,” said Dr. Brito, “being there for them to help them through it.”

Stressful events are a part of life, Dr. Brito added, but if a child has an adult in his or her life that can act as a buffer against stress, helping a child feel secure and safe and usher them through stressful events, they have less long-term effects.

The Murphy Administration recently released more than four million dollars in grants to address issues of maternal and infant mortality, particularly black infant mortality, which is a problem nationally, but particularly in New Jersey.

“If we take care of our children from our state, it’s actually going to improve the health of our communities,” said Dr. Brito. “It’s just not only the right thing to do, it’s really the smart thing to do for the benefit of the state’s health and economy, and I think we’re foolish not to address it directly.”

For more information about Right From the Start New Jersey, and the health and well-being of infants and toddlers in our state, visit