Pass This On: Safety Checklist for Child Care
a guest post by Carson Gaffney, a Program Associate at Kids In Danger (KID), a nonprofit dedicated to keeping children safe by improving children’s product safety.
Deciding where to enroll your child for child care can be a nerve-wracking process. With so many things to consider, it can be hard to remember all the questions to ask when considering your options. Safety is one consideration and this checklist can help you evaluate safety as you make your choice.
First, take the time to ask about safety practices at your child’s facility. In 2014, KID released a report that found that 49% of child care providers report seeing at least one recalled or otherwise prohibited product. Thirty-seven percent of providers indicated that they had seen either unsafe sleep products or practices used within the facility. However, the report also found that child care providers want safety to be a priority in their facilities. Although the conversation may be hard to start, it is important to ask about safety practices.
When it comes to safety in child care, consider the following:
One to two children’s products are recalled each week for safety hazards ranging from fall to burn to suffocation hazards. Ask how the facility is keeping up with recall information to ensure there are no recalled products in the facility. Both CPSC and KID send out recall alert notices. Parents and providers can sign up for these get the most recent information. To learn more about the ins-and-outs of recalls, click here.
Furniture safety has been in the news due to the recall of 29 million IKEA dressers for tip-over hazards. Check to see whether the furniture in the room is properly anchored to the walls and ask about their furniture-anchoring practices. Simple wall-anchoring kits are available at any electronics or children’s store, or online. For more information, visit the #AnchorItcampaign homepage.
- Safe Sleep
It is required that cribs in child care meet the most recent mandatory standards. Ask when the facility’s cribs were manufactured — it should be after June 28, 2011. That is when the new crib safety law holding crib manufacturers to high standards went into effect. Also, ask about sleep practices and check to see if there are any accessories in the cribs they use. Remember the ABCs of safe sleep — Alone, Back, and Crib. Your baby should always sleep alone without any soft bedding and accessories such as bumper pads. Babies should always sleep on their back and in a crib.
- Cleaning Supplies
We encourage you to ask about where the child care facility keeps their cleaning products. The chemicals in cleaning products can be dangerous, especially for young children. Make sure that cleaning supplies are locked in a childproof cabinet.
- Car Seats
Will your child be travelling by car or by van while in child care? Ask if the providers have been trained on car seat installation, and if their seats are properly installed. Providers and parents can keep up with car seat recallsthrough the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Starting a conversation with your provider about these safety issues will help ensure that your child is in a safe environment to grow, play, and learn.