More than half of America's children under the age of five are enrolled in day-care programs. Of the thousands of day-care facilities available, only some are licensed which means the facility has been fire and health inspected. Besides asking if the facility is licensed, there are many other questions a parent should ask about a child care center. Here's a list of questions to get you started:
ARE THERE ENOUGH STAFF MEMBERS TO TEND TO EACH CHILD?
Officials suggest one adult for every three infants younger than 24 months; one adult for every four children ages 25 months to 30 months; one adult for every five children ages 31 months to 35 months; one adult for every seven children aged 3; and one adult for every eight children ages 4 and older.
DO CARE GIVERS KNOW FIRST AID AND CPR?
Do they receive periodic retraining? Are there appropriate first aid supplies available?
IS IT CLEAN?
Toys and bedding should be washed on a regular schedule. Floors should be disinfected on a regular basis. Care givers should disinfect changing tables after each diaper change.
ARE SMOKE DETECTORS AND FIRE EXTINGUISHERS LOCATED IN APPROPRIATE AREAS?
Find out how often the staff practices emergency fire evacuations.
ARE THE BUILDING AND GROUNDS WELL LIT AND FREE OF OBVIOUS HAZARDS, INCLUDING PEELING PAINT, BROKEN GLASS, AND RUBBISH?
Curious kids can cut themselves on glass or eat a paint chip.
DOES EVERY CHILD HAVE AN INDIVIDUAL COT, CRIB, OR MAT?
Shared bedding spreads disease and nits (tiny bugs that live in dirty bedding).
ARE FURNISHINGS, SINKS AND TOILETS SAFELY ACCESSIBLE TO CHILDREN?
Children can fall and hurt themselves when they must climb to reach things that are too high.
If you need help finding appropriate child care, this hotline provides referrals to local child care resources: Child Care Aware 1(800) 424-2246.