Fifty-seven percent of preschoolers attend some form of nonparental care program in the U.S., according to the national Center for Education Statistics. While all parents would like to think their child is safe at day care, potential dangers need to be considered when evaluating your little one's program. Those dangers range from minor problems to issues that could result in the loss of the child care center's license.
Whether your child goes to a center- or home-based program, licensed day cares must meet state and local regulation standards. Although licensing rules differ by area and regulating agency, these policies are designed to keep kids safe and healthy. When looking for dangers at day care, taking licensing regulations into consideration is key. For example, Wisconsin requires that centers keep areas that are accessible to kids free from flaking or cracking paint hazards, according to Wisconsin.gov.
Any lack of adequate supervision poses a serious danger in a child care center, and most centers, especially those that are licensed, must have a specific staff-to-child ratio. For example, the South Dakota Department of Social Services requires that one adult staff member be present for every five infants 12 months of age and younger. Having fewer staff members, or more kids, means that some children might not be adequately supervised or that your child's needs won't get met.
Facility maintenance is key when it comes to your child's safety during his day care day. This includes building safety issues such as the use of lead-free, intact paint, sturdy construction, and obstacle-free walkways and hallways. Additionally, keeping the building clean and germ-free is another major concern for many parents. While a smudged wall doesn't exactly pose a danger to your child, dirty meal tables, unclean bathroom surfaces and illness-causing substances such as mold and mildew are hazards to consider.
It isn't uncommon for young children to hit, bite or act aggressively out of frustration or a lack of emotional development, according to the national child development organization Zero to Three. Physical violence between peers can result in injuries. Day care centers must employ trained staff members that can help aggressive children channel or redirect their hurtful tendencies in order to keep the other kids safe. Additionally, the school should have policies in place relating to biting and physical aggression to help mitigate the dangers of these acts.