Child Safety Tips for Childcare Facilities
It’s important that all organizations caring for children have safety and security policies and procedures in place to ensure every child is protected and taken care of. Childcare centers, activity centers, kids camps, fitness centers and gyms are all places where parents drop off their kids, trusting they will be well cared for in a safe and secure environment. Every parent deserves peace-of-mind about the safety of their children. Here are some actionable, easy to implement safety tips to help create a safe environment in your facility.
“Safety doesn’t happen by accident” – Author Unknown
- Have a well-defined children’s check-in and check-out process in place. This will assure parents that child safety is a top priority at your facility. A check-in system helps to ensure only those authorized by the parents are able to pick up a child.
- Be consistent and follow the established safety policies. You’re responsible for the child’s safety, not “That One Parent” who may be irritated, frustrated, or complain about guidelines to be followed.
- Never allow children to be unattended for any reason.
- For every employee working in your child care area, or directly with children in any way, always make sure you have completed a background check on them. Repeat the background check every 12-24 months.
- In addition to a background check, always follow up on personal references, have a completed application (written or digital), and conduct a social media check on active accounts going back 3-6 months.
- Maintain appropriate staff-to-child ratios. It’s vital in preventing injuries and other incidents. Per Livestrong, general guidelines are below. Ratio standards may differ across the United States so be sure to check your state’s guidelines to confirm you’re compliant.
- Infants and children up to 2 years of age there should be 1 adult per 3 infants or toddlers
- For ages 2 to 4, the ratio should be 1 adult per 4 children
- For ages 3 to 7, there should be 1 adult per 8 children
- Staff, helpers, and assistants should be trained and certified in CPR and first aid.
- Ensure a child is never alone with a staff member, volunteer, and /or helper. Even if it’s inconvenient, it’s imperative. There must always be a minimum of two adults and two children together. This protects the children, staff, and the organization.
- Germ management should include a daily cleaning of all physical contact items such as toys, chairs, tables, door handles, bathroom sinks, and toilets with antibacterial wipes or sprays.
- Always secure and/or seal off electrical outlets and locate electrical cords where children cannot reach them.
- Staircases or any drop-offs should be blocked with railings or secure gates.
Emergency Management & Planning
- Accidents happen. Have a process to document and take photos of any incidents that occur. This helps protect all involved.
- Hang laminated listings of important contacts, evacuation procedures, and other emergency information in an easy to find location in the child area.
- Implement a system to make sure staff is aware of any allergy or medical issues with kids coming into your care. A lot can happen in a short amount of time. A children’s check-in system can be very helpful with this.
- Have a well-stocked first aid kit, clearly mark it, and make sure all personnel know its location