As the school year starts up and Covid-related expanded unemployment benefits are slated to end, many parents in Atlanta and around the country are faced with a challenge: finding safe, affordable, accessible daycare in a not-quite-post-pandemic world.
Around the country, child care options are limited. Parents are in a tough position. Many have already returned to or have to return to work, but are having difficulty finding quality daycare. And, unlike other products and services that were sometimes in short supply during the pandemic, child care isn’t a place moms and dads are willing to make do with what’s available. We all want to know our children are safe and well cared for in our absence.
Covid safety is at the top of everyone’s mind these days, and it’s an important consideration. You may want to find out what the center’s vaccination policy is for staff. You’ll also want to ask about other precautions, which may include breaking children into pods, distancing measures, sanitizing practices and more. But, Covid safety is just one consideration. All those other, pre-pandemic concerns are still in play, too.
Key Considerations in Daycare Safety
Vetting a daycare for safety involves assessing at least three different aspects of the daycare center and program: the physical environment, staffing, and policies and procedures.
The Physical Daycare Environment
When you’re shopping for a daycare provider, you’ll want to see the space where your child will be cared for, where they’ll eat, where they’ll play, and even the bathrooms they’ll use.
You know your child and the key concerns for his or her age. You’ll obviously want to keep an eye out for anything that raises a red flag. Some examples of things to look out for include:
- Safe walking surfaces–not slippery, or uneven, and free of clutter, loose carpet, and other tripping hazards
- Furniture properly constructed or affixed so children can’t pull anything down on their heads
- Electrical outlets covered or out of sight
- Age-appropriate toys and games
- Safe, age-appropriate playground equipment with a safer landing surface around any climbing equipment or swings
- Bathrooms children can’t lock themselves inside
- Safety equipment such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers
If you have multiple children or you’ve had a birthday party or a group of your child’s friends over to play, you know it can be difficult to monitor multiple young children at once. Make sure the adult to child ratio is reasonable to allow for close supervision for little kids. You’ll also want to learn more about the training teachers and other staff have received, including first aid and CPR.
You may even want to inquire about what type of background checks and other vetting the center does before hiring providers. And, of course, you’ll want to observe how the staff interacts with children while you’re touring the facility–especially when they may not be aware that you’re watching.
Policies and Procedures
Adult to child ratios and staff qualifications count, but even the best staff needs clear policies and procedures to ensure that things keep running smoothly. Some examples include supervision of meal times, how children are counted or roll-called when going outside to play, coming back in, or otherwise changing locations, location and maintenance of first-aid supplies, and what will trigger a call home.
Of course, the precise questions and assessments will depend on your child’s age, the size of the facility, whether it is a commercial or in-home daycare, and other variables. The important thing is that you take the time to look around, talk to staff, ask questions, and satisfy yourself that the environment is safe for your child and you’re comfortable with the care providers.
What if My Child is Injured at Daycare?
Your childcare provider is responsible for your child’s safety while he or she is in their care. If the provider is negligent in providing that care and injury results, you may be entitled to compensation. Some possible issues that could give rise to liability include:
- Premises not maintained in safe condition, leading to a fall, something falling on the child, or the child accessing something dangerous
- Inadequate supervision leading to the child slipping out, getting hurt while unattended, being harmed by another child, or otherwise injured
- Faulty vetting of providers or inadequate training leading to a staff member causing or failing to prevent harm to the child
The best source of information about the specific claims that may be available to you is an experienced Atlanta personal injury attorney.
Atlanta attorney ReShea Balams fights for maximum compensation for people who have been injured through someone else’s negligence, including victims of daycare accidents, medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall injuries and more. The Balams Firm offers free, no-obligation consultations so injury victims can gather the information they need to make good decisions in difficult times. You can schedule yours right now by calling 855-352-2727 or filling out the contact form on this page.