It can be very hard for parents to drop their kids off at daycare for the first time. Up to that point, a child is in their family’s protective arms and view every day. There are several things that parents want from a daycare. First, they want it to be fun, and they want their kids to learn. However, the most important thing is that they want their kids to be safe.
It’s stressful enough being away from your child. It gets even more challenging if you can’t be confident that they are under the safest care possible. However, it can be hard to know if a daycare is safe. You can’t see what happens during the day, after all. Luckily, there are signs you can look for that will help you know how protected your child will be. Here are some of the essential safety measures parents should look for in a daycare.
While it isn’t necessarily a safety measure, any daycare you choose must be properly licensed by your state. To get licensed, they will have to pass rigorous requirements and inspections to show that they are safe for children. You should display a license in an area where it can be easily seen and read by parents when they drop their kids off. If a daycare refuses to show a license or says they don’t have one, those are red flags. Some states do not require a permit, but having one still demonstrates an additional commitment to the safety of the children in their care.
Child and Worker Ratio
Many states have limits on how many children can be enrolled in a daycare at any one time. They often vary between at-home centers and larger daycares. At-home daycares are harder to regulate, while other daycares can have more space and staff to keep the kids spread out. If there are too many kids compared to the number of workers, it is a huge safety issue. This could mean that children are not being adequately supervised, resulting in possible injuries, or even fighting among kids. The other problem with too many children is space. If kids are crammed into a smaller space, there is more opportunity for accidents. Plus, as the recent Covid pandemic has demonstrated, tight spaces cause illnesses to spread faster, putting your child in danger.
Your daycare having insurance is one of the most important things you can look for if you want a reputable provider. One overlooked thing about insurance is that it isn’t just about protecting against financial loss for the policyholder. It also provides physical protection. For instance, if your child is injured at a daycare that does not have insurance, they may try to hide, lie about that injury, or be hesitant to take them to the hospital. Plus, simply having insurance in place displays a level of responsibility and professionalism that you should be looking for in a daycare provider. The fact is that the child care business insurance cost that a daycare might have to pay is not prohibitive enough for reputable daycares to avoid it.
Daily Rules and Procedures
There is no way for even the most excellent daycare to predict everything that might happen. However, having good routines, rules, and procedures in place can help prevent harmful incidents. For example, do they do regular head checks, especially when out at the park or in public? Do they require frequent hand washing, such as after potty breaks and before meals? Are children asked to tidy up toys and supplies after using them to avoid tripping hazards? All of these measures, and following them diligently, can keep your kids safe.
As a parent, you probably know that ordinary everyday things can be dangerous to toddlers and babies. A good daycare will have taken the necessary steps to childproof its center to ensure that the kids can’t get into or onto anything that could hurt them. This includes covers for all outlets, for example. Furniture should be short enough for kids to use, which means it’s also closer to the ground if they fall off. Rugs should be secured to the floor so they can’t bunch up and cause a tripping hazard. Many daycares now use rubber surfaces that provide a cushion if kids fall.
Sign-In and Sign-Out
Your daycare should know who is dropping off and picking up your child every day. If you show up to pick up your child, and they are already gone, then they had better be able to tell you that it was your spouse, and you must have gotten your days mixed up. In addition, no child should leave the premises without a signature from an adult who has been approved by the parents. As technology evolves, many centers are using passwords for signing out. Plus, parents can get alerts to let them know when their child leaves. This allows parents to have more control and makes it less likely that a child will be taken by someone unauthorized.
The building must have locks so that not just anyone can walk in. Reputable daycares will often have timed locks installed so that they are never left unsecured by accident. If the kids spend time outside, there should be a tall fence that is locked to possible intruders. Only those authorized by the daycare and my parents should be able to access the property at any time.
Handing off your child to a daycare can be heartbreaking enough. It’s the last step before they start school and become more independent every year. It can be frightening, but it is also a necessity. Your goal should always be that they leave the daycare every day safe and sound. While it’s hard to know which centers are reputable and which ones are safe, there are some things to look for. By keeping a close eye and having your own personal standards, you can ensure that your kids are protected while at daycare.