Creating a safe child care setting is important. It starts with making sure you are prepared for emergencies. Program policies should include steps to be followed if there is an accident, fire, flood, evacuation, or other emergency. Each child's file must include emergency contact phone numbers. You should also have a release form allowing you to get emergency treatment for the child if the parent or other contacts can’t be reached.
- All center staff should be fully trained in first aid and CPR. Staff should know how to respond immediately in an emergency
- Emergency numbers should be posted in each classroom and by each telephone
- Directions for staff response in various emergency situations should be posted in each room
- Have syrup of ipecac on hand in the first aid cabinet for when you need to induce vomiting. Never give ipecac, however, without being instructed to do so by a doctor or a Poison Control Center.
- Make safety checks a part of your routine. You should make daily sweeps of the program to make sure everything is safely stored away.
- Monthly checks that smoke detectors are in working order
- All exits clear at all times
- Quick-opening locks on windows
- Monthly fire safety drills, and "stop, drop, and roll" drills with all staff and children
- Electrical outlets have clear, childproof covers
- Electrical appliances are free of loose plugs, fraying cords, or bare wires
- Wires and extension cords do not run under rugs or carpeting or across floor in traffic areas
- Children are supervised closely in the kitchen
- Extreme care is used if heating baby bottles in microwave. The content can be heated unevenly, with hot and cool spots. The bottle should be shaken well and tested before being given to a baby
- Household cleaners, abrasives, products, and toxins are kept in original, clearly marked containers. They are kept locked out of the children's sight and reach
- Hot water heater is set below 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding
- Medications and other hazardous items are kept in locked cabinets out of children's reach
- Young children are supervised in the bathroom. Toilets have lid locks if children are three or younger
- Sturdy non-tip stepstool is provided if the toilet or sink is high
Classrooms/Child Care Areas
- Electrical outlets are covered with clear, childproof plastic covers
- Radiators are covered with secure radiator covers
- Toys have no sharp edges
- Toys are not a choking hazard
- Safety gates (not accordion-style) are installed at the top and bottom of stairs
- Houseplants are kept out of children's reach; plants are not poisonous
- Curtain cords, Venetian blind cords, etc., are fastened up out of children's reach
- Jumpers or swings are used instead of walkers
- Visit Safe Kids USA for more toy safety tips
- Children are taught to keep faces away from pets' mouths, beaks, or claws
- Children and staff wash hands after handling or playing with pets
- Many reptiles carry salmonella (a dangerous bacteria) and are inappropriate pets for children
- Window guards or stops are installed in all rooms where young children spend time
- Windows are opened from the top, not the bottom
- Furniture is kept away from windows to discourage climbing
- Children are never left alone near a wading pool, bathtub, or other body of water
- Children under three are never left alone, even near a bucket of water or a toilet
- Adults keep a constant eye on children playing in or around water Drowning can occur in less than two minutes
- Wading pools are emptied after each use
- Five-foot fence with a locking gate encircles pool. The is gate kept locked at all times
Weapon and Tool Safety
If you or a family member own guns, you should disclose this information to parents, along with the safety precautions you have taken.
- Store unloaded guns in a locked cabinet at all times. Guns should be kept out of sight.
- Store ammunition separately from firearms in a locked cabinet. Ammunition should be stored out of sight.
- All sharp objects, including knives, scissors, letter openers, sharp tools, etc., should be stored out of reach and out of sight, preferably in locked cupboards or locked drawers.