Jun 01, 2021
Nothing is more important to you than the safety of your child. There are, of course, a myriad of regulations that licensed childcare providers must follow when it comes to safety. There are also numerous state and federal agencies providing oversight. However, you’ll want to know precisely how your childcare provider translates these regulations into daily practice to ensure your child’s safety. Here are a few safety questions you should ask your childcare provider before entrusting them with your child.
Childcare providers should have a written safety plan, and all staff members should be intimately familiar with it. This safety plan will include minor things such as cleaning up messes and the protocol for dealing with minor injuries. However, it should also include the bigger stuff. What happens in the event of a significant injury, for example? This plan should be updated and revisited regularly and should contain a specific protocol for dealing with COVID-19. There should also be an evacuation plan and a plan for sheltering in place if that becomes necessary.
Some, though not all, states require that all childcare providers be trained in basic lifesaving techniques. At least one staff member per shift should be trained in First Aid and CPR and be available to help if there is an injury or incident. You can also ask what sort of in house training is provided to staff regarding safety protocols.
How you handle the answers to this question are dependent on the age of your child. Find out, for example, what the protocols for deep cleaning are if it becomes necessary? For younger children, are the outlets covered? Are the toys developmentally appropriate to avoid choking hazards? Are hard corners covered and sharp objects stowed safely? How frequently are toys and other surfaces cleaned?
Again, your assessment of these answers will depend on the age of your child. You’ll want to know how children and staff access outdoor areas and be assured that there is no easy access from public spaces. The entire area should be fenced, and any gates latched securely, denying access to and from public or outside areas. There should also be separate spaces for different age groups or access to outdoor play places staggered according to age group. Our outdoor spaces kept neat and tidy? Are they kept in good repair? Is the playground in good working condition?
Your childcare provider should be licensed. This will reveal quite a bit about safety expectations, and you will know they will be inspected regularly. You can also expect them to keep a minimum safety standard. Don’t just ask if they are accredited or licensed, ask which body they received the accreditation or license from.
You won’t want a call every time your child needs a Band-Aid, but some things shouldn’t wait. Discuss this ahead of time with your childcare provider. Of course, the provider should inform you immediately of any injury that requires a doctor or a visit to the hospital. You should also know about any bruises and significant bumps to the head that occurred with an explanation of how they happened.
You’ll also want to know the exact procedures followed if your child or someone else’s child is sick. In their effort to minimize the spread of an illness, most care providers will not allow a child to attend the center if they are ill. This is good practice and should be supported.
Your childcare provider should allow you to stop by and visit. This may be a red flag if they prohibit such visits. That said, it is better for your child if you keep unannounced visits to a minimum. However, your provider should have clear rules around pickups and drop-offs designed to ensure that your child only leaves with you or someone you have designated to pick them up. Some centers are rigorous, for good reason. If you will have someone else pick up your child, ensure you make arrangements beforehand and know the exact protocol they will be following.
Keeping your child safe is essential to you, and it should be equally critical to your childcare provider. Learn more about our after school care program.