Are you a parent who has to make the important decision of which daycare is best for your child? We know that the health and safety of your child are not-negotiable, so let’s have a look at some critical questions you need to ask, and have answered, regarding health and safety measures, that will help you make this important decision.
Critical Questions To Ask Before Enrolling Your Child In A Daycare
We have summarized a few questions that you should ask before enrolling your child in daycare.
Is The Daycare Licensed?
The daycare has to be licensed by both State and Local government. Although this is a minimum requirement, it does not guarantee that the facility provides the highest quality of care. It does, however, ensure that the facility is monitored and adheres to regulations regarding:
- The staff to child ratio, and the group size (classroom size)
- The constant supervision of the children
- The safety of the building and playground
- Methods of preventing the spread of disease
- The training of the caregivers.
As the parent, you should have access to view the license and inquire about the inspections made, at any time.
Are Background Checks Done On Caregivers?
Background checks should be done on all adults coming into contact with children at a daycare facility.
It is Federal Law that all childcare staff members, directors, teachers, caregivers, bus drivers, janitors, kitchen staff and admin staff have background checks done before they are hired, and preferably every 5 years thereafter. These checks will be carried out by the State Licensing Agency.
What Is The Caregiver: Child Ratio And Group Size?
Ratio and group size are critical factors that can affect your child’s health, safety, and development. Ratio regulations vary from state to state but it is accepted that the younger the child, the smaller the group should be, and the more trained adults it should contain.
Smaller groups and low child to adult ratios make classrooms easier to manage, prevent injury and sickness and allows staff to ensure that each child’s social and emotional needs are met.
What Is The Policy For Nutrition, Physical Activity, And Screen Time?
Many states have strict rules regarding nutrition and physical activity vs screen time, that need to be adhered to. Ask if the facility is affiliated to the Child and Adult Food Care Program (CACFP) that assists them with their approach to nutrition.
If the daycare provides meals and snacks, parents should be able to have a look at the menu and confirm it provides nutritional meals. As a parent, you should be able to examine the kitchen to ensure it is clean, well-stocked, and that the food and beverages are handled properly.
When it comes to playtime, you need to ask how much of it is outdoors, and how much time is spent indoors? What kinds of activities are the children involved in and how much of that is screen time?
What Health And Safety Training Do The Caregivers Have?
All caregivers must have the proper education and training. State Child Care Licensing Rules stipulate the health and safety training requirements adults working with children need.
Examples of these training requirements are:
- Pediatric first aid and CPR
- Prevention and control of infectious diseases, including immunizations
- Safe sleep practice and the prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- Prevention of Shaken Baby Syndrome, abusive head trauma and child mistreatment
- Recognition and prevention of child abuse and neglect
- The correct use of medication
- Recognition and treatment of allergies
- Emergency preparation and response in the case of natural disasters
- Handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous substances
- Indoor and outdoor safety e.g. water and traffic safety
- Transport safety (if children are to be transported)
- Child development, (including children with special needs) physical interaction, and nutrition
You should also confirm that staff receive regular updates on the training and that this is on a planned schedule.
General Information About The Daycare
- Can parents volunteer and encouraged to visit the facility anytime?
- Are the toys safe, clean, free of choking hazards and age-appropriate?
- Is hygiene strictly maintained, especially during diaper changes and food handling? Is everyone aware of the importance of handwashing and is disinfectant soap and water always within reach?
- Is food handled, prepared, and stored safely and appropriately?
- Is there a clear emergency plan and a log of regular drills? Are fire extinguishers and smoke detectors checked and maintained?
- Is there clear and comprehensive communication between staff and parents?
- What is their transport policy? Are children properly restrained and are the drivers licensed and insured?
- Are various cultures and values adhered to?
- What is their discipline policy?
At Stone Brook Academy, we know how difficult it is to decide which daycare is the best for your child. We encourage you to contact us, view our facilities, meet our staff, and ask all the questions you need, to put your mind at ease. You will find that we provide a safe and secure environment where children can flourish.