Published on June 27th, 2016 | by Three Tiny Stones0
Why You Need to Know Your Daycare’s Safety Policy
People make mistakes and accidents happen. They really do. That time my kid took a header out of the trampoline onto the concrete? Totally my bad for leaving the zipper open. How about when one of them lost control of his tricycle and barreled straight into prickly thorn bushes? In hindsight, probably should have told him to slow down. It would be silly of me to believe that child care providers don’t also make mistakes when they’re supervising my children. However, I’d like to tell a story of something that recently happened to one of my kids and struck a nerve in me so deep that I started to question how well I really knew my child care provider.
It was just like any other day when I dropped my kids at daycare on my way to work. Nothing unusual happened throughout the day–I received no alarming phone calls– and before I knew it I was back at the daycare to pick them up. When I arrived, a staff member approached me and off-handedly mentioned that my 4-year old had collided with another child on the playground that afternoon, but that he seemed fine to her. However, I immediately noticed the tooth was weirdly colored, there was bruising on the gums, and –clutch my pearls!– it was off-kilter and wiggly. I frantically called our pediatric dentist, but of course they were already closed for the day. Like any other good parent does when a doctor isn’t immediately available, I started doing some internet research….until I remembered the internet couldn’t perform X-rays and was therefore useless, and then I had no choice but to wait until the morning to make a dentist appointment. While the dentist didn’t seem too alarmed by the discoloration, once an X-Ray was taken, it was clear that my child’s baby tooth was cracked right in half and would need to be removed to avoid infection and permanent damage to the tooth waiting in his gums. We make our way back to the dentist next week to have his front tooth removed. While I’m sure spending the rest of his preschool years with a missing front tooth will do wonders for his playground cred, I’ll spend the next few years being worried about the impact on his speech and developing permanent tooth.
Once again, I realize that accidents happen and there was probably no way to prevent it (see above for my own track record), but I do believe my child care provider made a mistake in failing to contact me when the accident happened. Don’t get me wrong — I trust my provider, and have been with her for over 8 years, but my mind began to race–what if my son had been concussed? If he suddenly became drowsy, would they brush it off as needing a nap? Where do they draw the line at calling a parent vs. just taking an injury report? If he cried a little harder for a little longer, would they then have decided to call me so that I could assess the situation myself? Regardless of how much I trust my provider, as a parent I failed by not asking questions, and by simply assuming that she and her staff were prepared and trained for accidents and injuries. Fellow parents, I urge you to discuss these situations and your expectations with your child care provider BEFORE an accident happens. Don’t assume — ask questions!
- What’s the caregiver to child ratio? Child Care Aware suggests that the caregiver-to-child ratio should be (at the least!) 1:3 for infants and young toddlers, 1:6 for older toddlers and 1:9 for preschoolers
- What’s your training policy? How many staff are CPR/First Aid certified? Does everyone know how and when to report an injury?
- Ask to see your provider’s play area inspection reports; they should all be clean and in good condition.
- What are the cleaning policies and practices? How often are areas cleaned? What’s the practice if a child gets sick? Daycare is a breeding ground for germs, so proper cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing is a MUST.
- What is the emergency plan? Every child care provider should have one, and it should be updated regularly. Ask to see it!
- What kinds of background checks are performed on staff? Everyone who has contact with your children should have an extensive background and criminal screenings.
Also, before choosing a child care center, consider visiting this website to check for violations or standards not being met, http://www.checkccmd.org/.