Choosing a day – care centre is a challenging task both logistically and emotionally. Parents pick daycare centres for a number of reasons which may include personal and professional obligations, social skills development, and others.

But notwithstanding all these, parents are searching for a clean, quality daycare centre with passionate, experienced staff. Most moms seek day care recommendations from family and friends—this is an excellent starting point. You might also scope out some possibilities in your area, since convenience is definitely a factor.

However, if you are considering home-based child care instead of a centre, you can use the National Association for Family Child Care’s accredited providers search tool to find a provider that meets the highest possible standards for in-home child care.

For listings of state-licensed facilities, use the interactive map from the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), which provides inspection reports, state fact sheets and information on daycare and family child care regulations. But you should also have it in mind that there are no federal standards for daycare centres and the licensing and regulations vary from state to state, so you have to do some research.

Take your time to find out the center’s health and indoor safety policies and procedures. A good day care centre will happily share its policies on everything from immunization to hand washing, dealing with sick children and diaper changing.

You also want to be sure that each adult in the centre has had a background check and is certified in CPR and first aid. There should be plans in place for a lost, sick or injured child and regularly practiced emergency plans for fires, floods and other natural disasters.

Checklists are quick and easy to use, so they are popular with educators. They can be used to record observations in virtually any situation, and do not require the educator to spend much time recording data. Here is an indoor checklist to consider for a daycare in the United States.

44 Indoor Safety Checklist for Daycare Centers in 2023

  1. Wall decorations attached without projecting devices; e.g. straight pins, nails.
  2. No more than two fingers distance between mattress & crib railings. A loose fitting mattress can cause strangulation or limb injuries.
  3. Crib and playpen slats are 2 3/8 inches or less apart.
  4. Walls and ceilings free of peeling paint and falling plaster.
  5. Knives and other sharp objects kept out of child’s reach.
  6. Liquor kept out of child’s reach.
  7. Hot liquids, foods and pans kept out of child’s reach.
  8. Hot water temperature is no hotter than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Electrical outlets covered with plastic plugs when not in use.
  10. Electrical appliances unplugged when not in use and stored so they cannot fall in water causing electrical shock.
  11. Glass doors and low windows are marked for visibility with bright coloured stickers, decals or tape.
  12. Cleaning products, medicines and food are stored separately out of children’s reach.
  13. Bleach solutions and diapering supplies are out of children’s reach.
  14. Basements are inaccessible to children.
  15. Toys are non – flammable.
  16. Toys do not have sharp edges or small parts that may come off or be swallowed causing choking.
  17. Toy chests have lightweight lids, no lid or a safe closing mechanism. A dropping lid may cause suffocation, head or neck injuries
  18. Toys with sharp points or edges, or those that will have such edges if broken by misuse, are not accessible to children under age 8
  19. Children under age 5 are not given sophisticated electric toys. Other items, such as tape recorders and battery operated toys are checked regularly for loose or exposed wires.
  20. Propelled objects, such as toy darts and projectiles, have soft, non – removable rubber or cork ends to prevent injury.
  21. Toys are checked often to make sure they are in good repair.
  22. Toys that are broken beyond repair are disposed of so that children cannot see or reach them.
  23. Toys that make very loud noises; e.g., caps or toy guns, are not available as they may permanently damage a child’s hearing.
  24. Balloons are not permitted due to the possibility of small pieces of rubber being aspirated.
  25. Riding toys are stable and well – balanced.
  26. Smoke detectors or alarms are installed and tested weekly.
  27. Fire escape plan is posted and fire drills are held.
  28. Matches and lighters are inaccessible to children.
  29. Children are taught to “stop, drop, and roll” to put out flames if his / her clothes catch on fire
  30. Children ride buckled up in approved safety restraints or use automobile seat belts (for children over 40 lbs) during all auto travel.
  31. Purses or cabinets with vitamins, medications, cigarettes, jewellery, and calculators (with easy to swallow button batteries) are kept out of children’s reach.
  32. Emergency procedures and telephone numbers posted near each phone in clear view
  33. Poison centre telephone number sticker on phone; e.g., “The poison control centre’s telephone number is…”
  34. Syrup of Ipecac is in the centre in case of poisoning. Call the poison centre or the child’s physician before giving syrup.
  35. Working fire extinguisher of the appropriate classification is available and staff are trained to use it.
  36. Access to windows is blocked; screens are secure; and upper level windows are secured with window guards.
  37. Young children are not allowed to stand on chairs, tables, countertops, high chairs or any other elevated surfaces.
  38. Stairs are kept neat and clean; e.g., clear of items such as boxes, toys, supplies, newspapers, etc.
  39. Sharp corners on furniture and other objects are covered with a cushion to prevent any harm from banging or falling against them.
  40. Exits are clearly marked and free of clutter.
  41. Cots and cribs are placed so that the walkways are clear for emergency evacuation.
  42. Doors open in the direction of exit.
  43. Centre is inspected for lead paint.
  44. Air is free of friable (crumbly) asbestos.

Never ignore your gut instinct when choosing a day – care. First impressions are important. When you feel like something is not right, then something probably is not. Picking the right daycare may not be easy, but this checklist above can come in handy to help you choose the best daycare for your child.