How to Choose a Good And Safe Daycare

Within the first two months of the new year, several daycares in Florida are facing charges for alleged child abuse and negligence in 2019. Signs of abuse can sometimes be as clear as unexplainable cuts or bruises that clearly show aggressive behavior towards a child, or more subtle like having unexplainable chemical stains on a child’s clothes—as reported in the case of a mother seeking a lawsuit against a Pasco County daycare.

With rising costs of life throughout the nation, many families in today’s world have to rely on two incomes to support a household. This reality leaves childcare to be an even bigger necessity than it was a decade ago. Disturbing accounts of injuries to children, negligence and abuse in recent years has left parents wary of leaving their child in the unsupervised care of another.

In light of these concerns, we’ve compiled a list of ways you can ensure you pick a safe environment for your child when you aren’t around. We understand supervised childcare is a necessity for many families. Here are ways people can recognize the signs of a questionable daycare when you come across one.

When vetting a daycare:

Ask the Important Questions

  • What’s your center’s philosophy on child care?
  • What’s your caregiver to child ratio? How many children does your daycare have/accept?
    • You can use the following ratio guideline provided by Care.com to reference when shopping around for daycares:
      • one adult caregiver for every 3 infants (birth to 18 months)
      • one adult caregiver for every 4 young toddlers (18 months to 2 years)
      • one adult caregiver for every 6 older toddlers (2 to 3 years)
      • one adult caregiver for every 9 preschool aged kids (older than 3 years of age)
  • What’s your protocol if a child hits another child or exhibits ‘bad behavior’?
  • Do you require background checks for caregivers?
  • Can you access those background checks if desired?
  • What types of activities do the kids participate in?
  • What does a typical day look like?
  • If they are able to accommodate family-specific requests: using cotton-only diapers, refrain from using talc powder, laying on designated mats, etc.
  • Ask what type of food they’ll be eating
  • How do caregivers transition from one area to another – what’s their protocol for remembering names and faces and ensuring all kids are accounted for?

Look around: Do caregivers actively engage with children?

When getting a tour of a given daycare center, be attentive to the way in which the children and caregivers interact. Especially with young children, caregivers should be down on the ground playing with children, typically with one on their lap.

If the staff seems to be supervising from afar instead of being involved with the children, this could be a telling sign of the way they’ll interact with your child when you’re not there. Children should feel like their caretakers truly care and are engaging with them to form a secure attachment, which also leads me to my next tip.

Can you count on them long-term?

As mentioned above, it’s important for children to form a secure attachment with their caretakers. Whether you’re looking for in-home care or at a center, you should be able to rely on care for at least a year. Don’t be afraid to ask this from the very beginning.

Are providers appropriately certified?

While personal experience as a parent seems to get many daycares by, it’s not enough to ensure a caregiver is ready for all possible scenarios that can happen under their care. A provider that takes their role seriously is likely to be CPR and infant first aid certified. Many require annual or biannual refreshers to stay certified.

The Center/Home is completely Baby Proof

Many would consider this one a given since the purpose of the center is for childcare, but you’d be surprised. Particularly when daycares are at a place of residence, you’ll want to ensure all areas where your child will be are baby proof. If you find multiple areas that are questionable, or the state are still in process of being fixed, it could be a cause for concern.

A ‘Device-Free’ environment

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under the age of 2 should not be watching any sort of television. Odds are, this also applied to mobile screens and/or tablets. Researcher Jill Stamm, Ph.D., and author of Bright from the start found  “increased ADHD characteristics in young kids who watch a lot of TV.”

They participate in open communication

Keeping the line of communication between you and your caregiver as open and transparent as possible will only help you. Remember, they are filling your shoes for you when you’re not there, and sometimes, for the majority of their day. When you drop your child off, you should let the caregiver know if they didn’t sleep well, had breakfast or is feeling fussy that day. You should also be able to know the same.

As a parent, you should know if and for how long your child slept, how many diapers they went through, if they ate much and how they were feeling that day. If you’re unable to do this when you pick them up, try to coordinate a time throughout the day where you’re both available for an update. Open communication is the key to any successful relationship, including that of parents to caregivers.

If You Sense Abuse, Always Trust Your Instincts

Parents are usually spot on when it comes to something fishy going on with their child.

39 comments

Chad A
Chad Andersonabout a month ago

Thank you.

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Kevin B
Kevin Babout a month ago

Thank you

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Gino C
Gino Cabout a month ago

thank you for sharing

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Ingrid A
Past Member 1 months ago

thanks for posting

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Dr. Jan H
Dr. Jan H2 months ago

thanks

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Angela K
Angela K2 months ago

noted

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Ann B
Ann B2 months ago

no children no need - but the news will scare a parent to death when they are looking!!!!

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Vincent T
Vincent T2 months ago

thanks very much

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Mike R
Mike R2 months ago

Thanks

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Danuta W
Danuta W2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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