If you’re a mom who works outside the home, you are well aware that finding daycare can be quite challenging. This is especially true considering the country is currently facing a daycare shortage.
Sometimes what is even harder than finding daycare, is finding one where you know your child will be safe. Besides getting injured, some children at daycare get abused. According to one report, over 5,000 daycare providers were reported for abusing or neglecting children.
However, when children get hurt, it’s not always the fault of the daycare provider. As a parent, you know that children are prone to get injured. Some of the most common injuries sustained at daycare include scrapes and bruises, broken bones, sprains, and getting bit or hit by another child. Even though injuries are bound to happen, you still want to do everything you can to prevent child injury.
Thankfully, there are some things that you as a parent can do to keep your child as safe as possible while attending daycare. Here are five ways to do just that.
In the Post
1. Child to Provider Ratio
Accidents and injuries can happen more easily when there is not enough staff to look after all the children. This is why it’s important to look at the child to provider ratio when finding the right daycare. Besides helping your child feel safe and secure, and reducing the chances of your child getting sick, a low child to provider ratio can also ensure that your child is getting enough one-on-one attention. All of these factors combined help your child develop socially, physically, and emotionally.
When it comes to an optimal child to provider ratios, early childhood experts make the following recommendations:
- Babies younger than 12 months – 1 provider for every 3 to 4 babies
- Young toddlers up to 2 years old – 1 provider for every 3 to 6 young toddlers
- Older toddlers up to 3 years old – 1 provider for every 4 to 6 older toddlers
- Preschoolers up to 5 years old – 1 provider for every 6 to 10 preschoolers
- School age – 1 provider for every 10 to 12 school-aged children
Keep in mind that these providers should have the appropriate training and experience to do daycare. They should also be trained in first aid and CPR. Also, each state has its own regulations for the child to provider ratios as well as limits to how many children can be enrolled in one daycare.
2. Safe Playground Equipment
Playing outdoors is an essential part of daycare, as it’s a great opportunity to make sure your child is getting fresh air and exercise. Many daycares have playgrounds with various pieces of playground equipment. While this can help your child have fun, it’s also one place where many accidents and injuries occur.
When taking a tour of the daycare (which is something you definitely need to do), be sure to pay close attention to the playground equipment. Some things to look for include:
- Playground surface should contain shock-absorbing material such as wood chips or sand
- None of the equipment is broken, damaged, or rusty, and has no missing pieces
- Slides and climbing structures should contain secure railings and should have a height of fewer than 8 feet
- Swings are made out of rubber or plastic instead of wood or metal
You should also make sure that there are designated play areas that are appropriate for certain age levels. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there should be designated equipment for two different age groups including 2 to 5 years old and 5 to 12 years old.
3. Technology to Check on Your Child
There are certain types of technology that you can use to check on your child while they are at daycare. For instance, daycares that provide a live video feed allow parents to check on their children, plus it makes the providers more accountable, knowing they are being watched at all times. There are also child-tracking websites and phone apps that allow parents to check in on their children as well.
Through these apps, parents can receive alerts, updates, video, and photos of their child. Not only does this technology help to ensure your child’s safety, but it can also be a great way to stay connected to your child throughout the day and not miss any major milestones that might occur while your child is at daycare. Some apps can also keep track of when your child eats, when their diaper gets changed, and when they have been given their medicine.
Along with brightening your day, this technology can also give you peace of mind.
4. Childproofed Spaces
There is a good chance that your house is childproofed, so it would make sense that the daycare you choose is childproofed as well. When touring the daycare, here are some important things to look for to ensure your child’s safety:
- Pull strings on the window blinds are well out of reach
- Cribs are not next to windows or window blinds
- Covers for electrical outlets are firmly in place
- Changing tables and high chairs have straps that will secure the child
- Toys are clean and in good condition
If there are steps or stairs, there should be baby gates in place. Also, you will want to make sure there are no small objects lying around that a child can choke on.
5. Proper Licenses
One more way to ensure your child’s safety while at daycare is to make sure the providers all have the proper certifications and licenses for your particular state. You can even call your local licensing agency to make sure the daycare does not have any violations on its record.
To ensure the highest quality of care, look for daycares that have been accredited by the National Association of Education of Young Children or National Association of Family Child Care. Asking for references from other moms is a great idea as well.