When parents drop their infants off at day care, their primary concern is that the caregivers will do everything possible to keep their babies safe. When day care providers follow safety rules, it improves the likelihood of infants being protected from serious injuries and illnesses.
Adhere to Adult-Child Ratios
When a day care provider has too many infants in her classroom, it reduces the quality of care and jeopardizes the babies’ safety. The National Association for the Education of Young Children recommends that day cares have no more than one caregiver for every three infants in a group size of six and one caregiver for every four infants in a group size of eight. Although the number of babies that providers can care for is determined by the state, guidelines usually align with NAEYC recommendations.
Sanitize Toys and Surfaces
Infants in day care programs share common surfaces, put playthings in their mouths and use their hands to sooth their itching gums, so viruses and bacteria are easily spread. To minimize communicable illnesses, providers should routinely sanitize toys and surfaces with a bleach-water solution that contains one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water. Surfaces such as changing tables and eating areas should be sanitized after each use.
Have an Evacuation Plan
In case of a fire or other emergency, day care centers should have an evacuation plan in place. Cribs with wheels should be on hand to load infants up and get them out of the building safely. The number of mobile cribs a day care needs will depend on how much weight they hold and how many infants are in the program. The evacuation plan should be posted on the wall and routinely practiced by caregivers so they can become familiar with it.
Get Rid of Recalled Products
Recalled products put infants at risk for injuries or death. Program administrators should check regularly to ensure any recalled products are not in the infant classrooms. In addition, they should post an updated list of recalled products on the wall so child care teachers can watch for and remove unsafe toys and furniture from the room.
- University of Nebraska – Lincoln Extension: Child Care Environment: General Safety Checklist Child Care Environment: General Safety Checklist
- California Childcare Health Program: Sanitize Safely and Effectively: Bleach and Alternatives in Child Care Programs
- NAEYC: Teacher-Child Ratios Within Group Size
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