Making Your Home Safe for Your Daycare Business

Starting your daycare business out of your home can be an exciting and rewarding adventure, but it’s still imperative to ensure the safety of your home before accepting clients. Not only can an unsafe environment lead to injuries and pose health risks, but also poses a personal risk in the form of litigation and insurance concerns. A serious injury can also cause irreparable damage to your daycare business and personal reputation. Because your primary responsibility to the children in your care and their parents is to provide a safe, nurturing environment, it’s of vital importance for home daycare providers to minimize injury and health risks.

Outdoor Safety for Your Daycare Business

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 200,000 children visit the emergency room each year in America due to injuries associated with playground equipment. Providing a fun and engaging space for your charges to play outdoors is important, but it’s equally essential for all the equipment to be in good repair and compliant with CPSC safety guidelines.

  • Install shock-absorbing surfacing like wood chips, mulch or rubber

  • Remove any open “S” hooks and cover protruding bolt ends

  • Ensure openings, ladder rungs and railings are under 3.5 inches or greater than 9 inches to prevent entrapment

  • Eliminate tripping hazards like tree stumps and exposed concrete footings

  • Regularly inspect surfacing and equipment to ensure continued good condition

Chemical and Medication Safety

Regular cleaning and occasionally administering medication are part and parcel of your daycare business, which means you need to keep the necessary supplies within reach. Still, poisonings and accidental overdoses account for thousands of emergency room visits across the country each year, so it’s important to store all chemicals and medications out of the reach of children. Move any cleaning fluids and supplies out of bottom cabinets, and store medications in a secure location which is inaccessible to little ones. Keep all chemicals in their original containers, as there are important first aid facts on the labels, which you will need to reference if a child is exposed to them.

Because baby powder may be dangerous if it’s inhaled and diaper rash ointments should never be ingested, it’s also wise to ensure all diapering supplies are within easy reach for you but not accessible to children. All daycare providers should keep the number for Poison Control handy, and use it if there’s ever a dangerous chemical exposure.

Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222

Setting Up Your Daycare Business

Ideally, you’ll be able to separate your daycare business space from your living space, but this isn’t always feasible. For daycare owners who will be using common areas in their homes for business, some setup and alterations may be necessary.

If you’re not planning on hiring additional caregivers and will be overseeing daily operations yourself, you should be able to see all of your charges at all times. This can present a challenge when you need to separate boisterous, playful children from younger ones who may be sleeping, but it ensures adequate supervision at all times. When you’re in the process of setting up your daycare space, make sure you arrange furniture and toys in a manner which does not create any blind spots. To prevent tripping, ensure all area rugs are secured to the floor with double-sided tape. Long, straight pathways invite children to run through the space, which can cause them to fall and become injured. Try to arrange the space so that pathways aren’t so conducive to high speed foot traffic.

Childproofing for a Safe Home Daycare Environment

  • Make sure all houseplants are non-poisonous

  • Secure all blind cords and shade pulls

  • Install corner guards on furniture with sharp corners

  • Remove breakable or fragile items from reach

  • Secure all tall structures to prevent falling

  • Install drawer locks on all reachable drawers

  • Childproof lower cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms

  • Turn hot water heater temperature settings to 120º or less

  • Secure pool areas and water features carefully

  • Block stairs with safety gates or doors

  • Ensure all staircases have sturdy handrails

Taking basic childproofing precautions cannot only ensure the safety of your charges, but also the safety of your own belongings.

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