You took the time and effort to carefully choose a daycare where you trust the care providers to attend to your little ones and keep them safe. The fact is, however, that injury-causing accidents at daycare facilities and at in-home daycares are not uncommon. Further, nearly all of these dangerous accidents are preventable. To remain safe, young children need constant supervision and safe surroundings, and when daycare providers fail to implement adequate safety standards, their young charges can be hurt in the process.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension shares that, for young children, injuries are the leading cause of death and disability. Overall, young children experience the highest risk of sustaining injuries, and different age groups are more susceptible to certain kinds of injuries. For example:
- Toddlers are most vulnerable to poisoning
- Preschoolers are most vulnerable to drowning
- School children are most vulnerable to pedestrian accidents
The Extension reports that the vast majority of children’s injuries are preventable and that adequate adult supervision is the most important factor when it comes to keeping children safe.
The majority of the time that your children spend at daycare probably takes place inside the daycare facility. Children are naturally curious, and they need the freedom to explore their surroundings. This means that the daycare’s indoor facilities must be safely maintained for children's explorations. Even infants need some time outside of the confinement of a crib or high chair. The most important component of indoor safety is ensuring that the environment is safe to begin with and that it is safely maintained. The safety-maintenance process should include:
- Checking for sharp and/or breakable items
- Keeping cleaning products, medications, and other toxins locked away
- Keeping toys with small parts (choking hazards) away from children under the age of 3
- Inspecting toys to make sure they have not developed rough edges or loose pieces
- Checking the security of all doors, gates, and other safety barriers
- Ensuring that any sharp edges remain covered
Getting outside is also important to children’s development. As such, there are important safety precautions that should be implemented in a daycare’s outdoor spaces, including:
- All playground equipment should be age-appropriate.
- The playground surface should be soft and resilient enough to help cushion falls.
- The playground should be fenced in or have another kind of safety barrier around it.
- Children should know and follow all applicable outdoor-safety rules.
- Children should never cross the street without adult supervision.