Childcare facilities are often recognized as a place where parents can drop their kids off to be cared for in a safe environment. As a parent, you can look for potential safety hazards and concerns at a childcare facility. As a childcare provider, you can implement safety procedures so that each child is being taken care of in a safe and thriving environment.
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Making sure there are enough staff members to properly care for and supervise each child is an important safety aspect. If infants and small children are being cared for in a facility, generally the ratio should be 1 adult per 3 infants or children up to 2 years of age. From ages to 2 to 4, the ratio should be 1 adult per 4 children. At ages 3 to 7, the ratio should be 1 adult per 8 children. This is important to assure that adequate care and attention will take place throughout the child’s stay.
Staff should include adults who are trained in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, with experience in early childhood development. Helpers or assistants should also be certified in CPR and first aid.
Childcare facilities should institute proper cleaning and germ care procedures throughout. This includes a daily wash down of all physical contact items with antibacterial soaps and sprays. Include door handles, bathroom sinks and toilets, chairs, tables and toys. Making sure that bed linens, pillows and blankets are washed and cleaned will help prevent the spread of germs.
Mealtime safety should be a priority for childcare providers. All foods should be healthy. Children with food allergies or dietary restrictions, such as lactose or sugar, need special care to make sure they get the proper meals and snacks. Supervising mealtime will assure that children eat properly. Someone should always be on hand if there is any type of choking episode or a problem with food.
Indoor safety is important in making sure that everyone stays safe. Electrical outlets and cords should be safely sealed or put up where kids cannot reach them. Steep stairs and other drop-offs should be blocked off with railings or a secure gate. Windows should be locked so that children cannot escape or fall out. Kitchen areas should be off limits unless supervised. Anything that imposes a choking hazard should be fixed, secured or removed.
Playground & Outdoor Safety
Every child needs outdoor exercise and activity time. Making sure that the outdoor playground or play area is safe will assure fewer accidents. Starting off with playground equipment in good working order will allow children to slide, spin and swing safely. A base of wood chips or recycled rubber are popular options for outdoor play areas, while providing cushion in the case of a fall. A fenced-in play area is a must when watching children—this prevents them from leaving the area, and keeps unknown guests and animals from reaching the children.