Whether you’re considering center-based, home-based, or nanny, all daycare providers are responsible for ensuring the safety of all children. We invite you to use this day care safety checklist when evaluating prospective daycare centers, or even when visiting your child’s current facility. Included in this checklist are best safety practices for the staff, classrooms, outdoor playground, equipment, and more.
Indoor Daycare Safety Checklist
Staff Training and Responsibility
- Staff are responsible for the safety of children throughout the day. Are they actively supervising and closely watching children? Are they engaging with and redirecting preschoolers to create safe learning opportunities?
- Are staff up-to-date with CPR and first aid training at all times in case of an emergency? Staff should refresh their CPR certification every two years.
- Are staff focused on supervising children and guiding them through their various activities and learning centers?
- Are proper staff-to-child ratios maintained? Ratios are determined under the school’s licensing and/or accreditation standards.
- Do the staff teach and enforce the safe use of toys, tools, and equipment by children? This includes safe scissor use, proper use of riding toys, and not allowing toys to be thrown or used as weapons.
- Do staff enforce safety measures surrounding allergy and choking during snack and meal times throughout the day? For example, Kids’ Care Club is a nut-free facility and does not allow hot dogs, pop corn, hard pretzels, raw peas, or raw carrots as they are potential choking hazards.
- Is each room properly secured so that children are not able to enter or leave without teacher supervision?
- Is the classroom designed in a way that eliminates blind spots? Teachers should have a clear view of the entire classroom at all times, and not have any spots where a child could hide out of sight.
- Do teachers keep potentially hazardous items (staplers, scissors, cleaning supplies, etc.) in their own safe spot, out of reach from children?
Inside Activity Centers
- Is the classroom divided into activity centers where children can focus on different subjects? Are all activity centers kept clean to prevent any risk of slips, falls, and hygiene hazards?
- Is the classroom clear of clutter? Do teachers facilitate clean-up time to encourage your little one to tidy up after themselves and understand organization systems? The teacher should make cleaning up fun to build healthy habits that extend beyond the classroom!
- Are all toys and activities in the activity centers safe? Make sure items such as coins, buttons and marbles are only used when supervised by a teacher as they are a choking hazard.
- Are all toys and equipment in good condition? There should be no peeling paint, cracks, loose parts, or other hazards.
- Are toys sanitized regularly to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria?
- Are all infant cribs SIDS-proof? Each crib should have no pillows, stuffed animals, bumpers, loose blankets, or anything else other than a mattress and well-fitted sheet.
- Are infant cribs slated so that a sleeping child can be monitored at all times by teachers?
- Are cleaning tables sanitized after each use and well stocked with supplies such as diapers and baby wipes?
- Is all infant furniture cleaned frequently?
- Are mouthed toys immediately removed from the play area for cleaning?
Furnishings and Fixtures
- Is all furniture throughout the school sturdy? Is the furniture secured to the wall so they don’t fall over if used as support or climbed on by a child?
- Are all hot surfaces kept in the kitchen (stoves, kettles, etc.) and restricted from children?
- Are all electrical outlets covered with safety caps when not in use to prevent electrical shocks?
Safety Equipment and Procedures
- Is the first aid kit at the center well-stocked? Examples of items it should include are bandages and gauze, digital thermometer, eye wash, and COVID-19 testing kits.
- Are drop-off and pick-up procedures secure? Many centers have a unique code that is restricted to parents in order to enter the building for drop-off and pick-up.
- Does the center require all additional family members or caretakers to be registered with a photograph in the child’s file?
- Is all fire safety equipment on hand and up-to-date? Ensure that staff know how to use fire extinguishers and that they are not expired.
- Is there a clear evacuation plan for the center? Are all fire and evacuation drills practiced regularly?
- Are fire and carbon monoxide detectors tested regularly, with batteries changed every six months?
Outdoor Daycare Safety Checklist
Staff Training and Responsibilities
- Do staff observe children at all times? Do they have clear sight to every location within the playground?
- Are children taught to use equipment safely? Do teachers enforce safety rules such as feet-first sliding?
- Are adequate staff-to-child ratios maintained? Are staff evenly placed throughout the yard to allow supervision of all children?
- Are head counts performed while leaving and entering the building to monitor every child’s location and ensure everyone is accounted for before heading back inside?
Playground Set Up and Maintenance
- Is the playground securely fenced off to prevent outside access into the yard?
- Is the playground properly divided between different age groups? A center will often divide toddler and preschool playgrounds.
- Is the playground large enough for children to play freely without risk of collision (on bikes, while running, etc.)?
- Is the outdoor area clean, and kept free of trash and yard debris?
- Are there safe, shock-absorbing surfaces in the active play areas so that injuries are prevented in case of falls? Examples are sand, deep mulch, or rubber mats.
- Is all play equipment sturdy, with no loose screws, sharp edges, or other hazards?
- Is the equipment in good condition? The structures should not be rusted or chipped.
- Is all play equipment developmentally appropriate for children who will use it?
Safety at Kids’ Care Club
A licensed preschool will always be the best way to ensure the safety practices of a preschool facility. Kids’ Care Club is a licensed, NAEYC-accredited child development center in San Diego committed to a safe, nurturing environment in all of our classrooms. Both of our locations in 4S Ranch and Rancho Penasquitos are divided into different classrooms based on your child’s age and stage of development. Each classroom has unique safety guidelines and is regularly evaluated in periodic, unannounced visits by both Child Care Licensing Program Analysts and NAEYC accreditation site visits.
We invite you to schedule a tour today to learn more about how Kids’ Care Club keeps safety our first priority across all components of our program.