Is Your Childcare Provider Safe? 3 Signs Your Kids are in Danger
The first time you hand over your child to a childcare provider can be intimidating. No matter how much you have researched, examined and interviewed, you will always worry if your precious one is being taken care of safely with love and concern. However, you can ease that anxiety early on if you know what to look for when touring childcare facilities.
Many experts agree that healthy child development requires a strong balance of physical, emotional and mental stimulation. From proper nutrition to regular comforting human contact, healthy development begins from day one. Making sure your little one is being nurtured is not a one-time check; it’s an ongoing process.
Top 3 Child care Safety Concerns
#1: Inadequate Training
Child care workers need to be licensed and certified according to your state’s standards. Proper and updated certifications show that the staff is trained to handle the needs of the children, but your safety observation shouldn’t stop there. Be sure to inquire about the professional development opportunities available to the staff. This will show you if the facility’s leadership values ongoing improvement in their staff. Also ask about training provided in addition to staff certifications and education — and be sure to check at every level, from part-time assistants to supervisors. It’s also really important that you find out the childcare provider’s policies on CPR and first-aid training. Make sure someone with these certifications and experience is on-site at all times.
#2 Exposed Dangerous Materials
Chemicals and substances may not seem toxic when they’re sitting in your cabinet, but in the hands of a toddler they can be deadly. Cleaning supplies, medication and even arts and crafts supplies can all pose a threat to your child’s safety. When you make a scheduled visit to the childcare provider, look closely to see how these materials are stored. Chemicals aren’t the only hazards to watch for. Are there loose lego or puzzle pieces on the floor near children eager to put anything and everything into their little mouths? Look around for choking hazards and ask how the worker would react if a child started choking. Does he or she know proper procedures for various ages? If you really want to see how things work, consider making a surprise visit, if possible.
#3 Health Habits
Every parent knows that no amount of baby wipes and washed hands can prevent little kids from spreading germs. So, be sure, there is a normal level of illness transmission that will occur in any public place, and childcare is no exception. If your toddler’s best friend has a runny nose, you can almost guarantee your child will soon have one, too — and possibly even the rest of your family. However, runny noses aren’t the only illness that you have to worry about. Many childcare providers require kids with fevers, diarrhea and vomiting to stay home. Check to see which illnesses your childcare provider lists as exclusions. Make sure there are handwashing signs at every sink and ask about the facility’s process for cleaning and sanitizing toys.
While it is important to be informed, educated and confident, it’s easy for parents to go overboard with their concerns. Try not to be too alarmed when you see something questionable; be candid and ask direct questions about it. Your child will pick up on your stress and discomfort, and you want them to be as happy and calm as possible when they are away from you and around other children.
Be calm when you notice something that may be a safety concern. However, if you suspect negligence, abuse or a lack of professionalism with your childcare provider, call the authorities right away.