Yes, you love kids and, even more, you love being a caretaker for infants and children. But besides teaching strong socialization skills, providing intellectual stimulation, and ensuring the children get what they need, there's something else that child care providers focus on in their business: child care safety tips.
There are plenty of child care safety tips out there, but if you want to start with simply making sure you have the most important tips nailed, here are 5 safety tips for child care centers.
1. Get Familiar With Types Of Safety In Child Care
Your child care center is multifaceted - which is awesome! But with the variable nature of your center comes different areas to gather child care safety tips from. When thinking about child care safety tips, here's where you can start:
- Dental health
- Car safety - yes even when they're not in the facility!
- Cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting in child care
- Dental health
- Diapering and toileting
- First aid
- Food safety
- Hand washing
- Outdoor safety
- Pets in child care
- Preventing illness
- Preventing injuries,
- Sudden infant death syndrome
- Toy and equipment safety
For example, food safety begins with how you and your staff prepare the food for the children in your care center. According to West Bend Insurance Company's culture of safety blog, food safety tips for child care include being conscious and proactive about sources of contamination and knowing the basics of food safety (cleanliness, food storage practices, and proper cooking methods).
For the full list of all the child care safety tips in a wide range of (very comprehensive) categories, check out West Bend's resources for child care providers.
2. Background Check And Criminal Screening
A very important category of child care safety tips revolves around the safety of children from individuals that may not have the best intentions with the children in your care. The best way to guard the children and your child care center is to ensure that everyone that the children could have access to has had a background check and criminal screening.
As a provider, here's what you can do in the way of background checks and criminal screenings:
- Knowledge is power, as they say. Learning about background checks is a great way to become familiar with what is screened and what's not.
- Ensure everyone that can be in contact with the children at your child care center has had an extensive background and criminal screening. Even any staff that are behind-the-scenes and not "in-charge" of the children's activities should undergo a background check.
- Ensure that at least two adults are present with a group of children as much as possible.
Not only is this good to have on a child care safety level, but it's also a valuable record to have on hand in case parents want to be reassured that their child will be safe in your care.
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3. Have A Gatekeeper
During the day-to-day, the children can be in a variety of places throughout your child care center, making child care safety tips a little harder to carry out. But, as mentioned above, ensuring that the children are kept safe from any individuals that haven't had a background check submitted to you is of very high importance.
Enter: the gatekeeper.
A gatekeeper exists to protect people (in this case, children) against other people who would threaten or hurt them, either physically, verbally or otherwise. Having a gatekeeper at your child care center ensures that every individual that comes and goes is acknowledged (better yet - signed in). A great way to carry this out is to use a Child Care Management system to have a digitized record of each guest to the facility.
In a different respect, a gatekeeper could also be a secure method of storing the vital and private information of the children in your care.
4. Ensure Appropriate Staff Training
Accident and illness prevention is your best method for child care safety, but sometimes life happens. Here are child care safety tips for both prevention and, finally, what you need to do to be prepared for when something does happen.
- Prevent and deal with injuries properly
- Supervise children carefully
- Check the child care and play areas for, and getting rid of hazards
- Use safety equipment for children
- Teach children how to use all the equipment and toy safely
When Something Happens:
- CPR and First Aid (specifically pediatric)
CPR and First Aid, however, comes with proper staff training and foresight to have this training done before an accident occurs. Even better, many employers require staff members to already have their first aid certification completed before beginning the job and require a copy of that certification. Some employers who use a Child Care Management System track their employees certification to ensure that they recertify before the training's expiry date.
5. Be Prepared For High-risk Situations
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
Being prepared for a high-risk situation isn't a bad thing - if you never have to make use of the preparation, that's a good thing.
Child care safety tips for high-risk situations:
- Have your information updated regularly, and shared with parents privately
- Each room should have a method of communication
- Have floor plans and know the location of all fire extinguishers and smoke detectors
- Ensure medicines are organized and only have the original labelling
- Secure cleaning products and all hazardous substances away from the reach of children
- Childproof any other areas of the home including cabinets, toilet seats, etc.
- Train staff to deal with violent scenarios, intruders and other high-risk situations.
- Have updated emergency contact information accessible off-site
Master Child Care Safety
In today's world, safety tips for child care centers have never been more needed. Getting the basics of child care safety begins with a foundation and a sincere interest in being not only compliant but ultimately a safe place for children to learn and grow. By searching for more information, you’re already on your way to being that safe place.
Are you looking for more child care management information? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Child Care Management.
Our child care management system makes running your child care program simple and efficient. Get back to what's most important. You shouldn't have to spend more time on the administrative tasks than you do with children and staff.
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Header image courtesy of Stockunlimited.