There are 11 million children in childcare programs around the country, according to Childcare Aware of America. A good daycare can provide your children with a wonderful opportunity to grow and develop in a safe, encouraging environment.
However, inept daycares also can be a breeding ground for injury and neglect. And unfortunately, the extent of daycare-related injuries is unknown. Even though two-thirds of the infants in the United States are in daycare, our country has no national reporting tools or federal regulations regarding injuries and fatalities in childcare facilities.
As a caring parent, carefully assess potential daycares in your area prior to making a decision to enroll your child. Here are five things to make sure you review with each facility.
Does it have adequate availability?
Find a daycare that’s available when you need it. Consider factors such as whether its hours match your needs, if you have a choice between part-time and full-time registration, and if the director is available to answer your questions.
A couple other factors that might indicate how open and available a daycare is whether you are allowed to visit the facility without an appointment and whether the staff answers your calls promptly.
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Is the daycare licensed and the staff trained?
Choose a certified facility that employs trained, caring staff. When you visit the facility, check to see if its certification is posted somewhere. When you interview the director, you can ask questions such as:
- Are you licensed?
- What is the caregiver-to-child ratio?
- What’s the staff turnover rate?
- What kind of training and certification do you require from your staff?
- Do you do background checks on your staff?
What are the daily activities and schedules like?
Take a look at the daily schedule and planned activities. If the daycare doesn’t have one or if there is way too much let-them-run-wild or TV time, you might consider another facility.
Look for daycares with scheduled nap and meal times, field trips and planned educational activities.
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Are you comfortable with its standards and rules?
The daycare staff will take care of your child for long periods of time. Obviously, you want their methods and standards to be in sync with yours. Do you approve of the meal choices? What about the discipline guidelines? When you observe the staff-child interaction, do you think the staff is affectionate and patient?
Does it provide a safe environment?
Safety in a daycare is paramount. Check the playground equipment and the inside of the facility to see if everything looks stable and well-kept. Is staff allowed to smoke on the premises? Are hazardous materials kept out of reach?
See if the daycare has safety features such as:
- an emergency safety plan;
- strict rules on who can pick up the children;
- handy first aid kits;
- smoke detectors;
- sturdy furniture; and
- safety gates.
Our Parents’ Corner provides additional articles and information geared specifically for parents, so head over and check it out.
We hope it’s never the case, but if your child suffers an injury at a daycare facility, discuss your case with a child injury attorney. Contact us at Chalik & Chalik today for a free, no-obligation consultation: (855) 529-0269.