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Day Care Safety For Children

In my opinion, leaving your child with someone is a hard thing to do. I believe no one can take care of a child like his/her mother. But let’s face it, nowadays; being a stay-at-home mom is not always an option. Some families need 2 incomes to stay afloat. Some moms will go out of their minds if they had to stay at home all day.

Whatever the reason why you have to leave your child with a childcare service, you still want to make sure it’s safe. And it’s best to make sure the facility is practicing day care safety BEFORE you put your little one there. So here are some things to consider before leaving your little one in daycare.

Day Care Safety For Children

  • The early bird catches the worm. Available slots can go quicker than a blink of an eye, especially in bigger cities, so it is best to start looking as soon as 3-6 months in advance.
  • Set your priorities. Think about what is important to you and start a list. For example, it is good to think about if you want a facility that is close to work or home. And how much your daycare budget will be.
  • Seek and you shall find.Ask friends, family, and co-workers about daycare facilities they would highly recommend.
  • Visit several facilities before deciding which one is best.Make an appointment so they can set time just for you. During the visit, check for the following:
    • Are the children supervised at all times?
    • Do the children seem happy?
    • Is there positive interaction with the children?
    • Are the caregivers frequently washing their hands?
    • Are the diapering areas clean?
    • Do the caregivers clean and sanitize the surface after changing a diaper?
    • Are the caregivers washing their hands after they change a diaper?
    • What are the child to caregiver ratios? (The smaller the better. The ratio should be no more than:
      • One caregiver per 3 or 4 infants.
      • One caregiver per 3 or 4 younger toddlers.
      • One caregiver per 4 to 6 older toddlers
      • One caregiver per 6 to 9 preschoolers.
    • Are toxic substances like cleaning supplies and pest killers kept away from children?
    • Are there working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers installed?
    • When infants are sleeping, are they individually in a crib on their backs with no pillows, quilts, stuffed toys, or other soft bedding in the crib with them?
    • Are the crib slats close together? (The slats should be no farther than 2 3/8 inches apart. Also make sure that the mattress is snug in the crib.)
    • Are safety gates, electrical outlet covers, and window guards installed?
    • Are the indoor play areas organized?
    • Is the playground surrounded by a fence?
    • Is the playground equipment safe, with no sharp edges, and kept in good condition?
    • Is the playground surface covered with at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand or pea gravel, or rubber materials?
    • Was the staff warm and welcoming?

    During your visit, you should also talk with the daycare director. You should ask her questions too. Some questions you can ask are:

    • Is the facility licensed by the state?
    • Do you have at least a bachelor’s degree in a child-related field?
    • Have you worked in child care for at least 2 years?
    • What is the maximum child to caregiver ratio do you have for your facility?
    • Do you have a handbook of the policies and procedures? (If so, make sure to get one.)
    • Do all the children at the facility have the required immunizations?
    • What is the emergency plan if a child is injured, sick, or lost?
    • Does the facility have a plan in case of a disaster like a fire, tornado, flood, blizzard, or earthquake?
    • Are there practice drills? (If so, how often?)
    • Will I be able to stop by anytime while my child is in the facility?
    • Have all caregivers gone through and passed a background check?
    • Is the medication that have to be given, stored out of reach of children?
    • Are the medications labeled to make sure the right child gets the right amount of the right medication at the right time?
    • What are the training programs for your staff? (How often are they given?)
    • How often is the facility inspected for health and cleanliness? (The more the better.)
    • What is the policy for ill children?
    • Is the playground inspected for safety often?
    • Have the childcare staff been trained on child abuse prevention and how to report it?
    • Do you give current lists of recalled toys to each caregiver?

    It is also a good idea to talk with the caregiver(s) that may be taking care of your little one.Some general questions to ask are:

    • Are you first aid and CPR trained?
    • How do you discipline children?
    • Do the children go outside everyday?
    • Do you ever take children on outings off-site? (If so, how often?)
    • What is a typical day like for the children?
    • Do you let children watch TV? (If so, how much time do you allow?)
    • How do you communicate any situations that need my attention?

    After each daycare visit, using your child care checklist, take notes and check off all the items that meets your expectations.

    Remember that Rome was not built in a day. It may take some time to find the right facility that is practicing day care safety. So don’t rush. You cannot put a time frame on your ease of mind and your little one’s safety.

    This Day Care Safety page is a lot to consider, so feel free to print out my Day Care Safety Checklist. That way you can review it at your leisure.