Are in-home daycares safe?
When choosing childcare options, safety is often a top concern for parents. In-home daycares are run out of a daycare provider’s home, as opposed to a daycare center or your own home with a nanny. Because of this, parents want to make sure that the in-home daycare they choose is safe. Knowing how in-home daycares are inspected and regulated can ease parents’ worries about safety.
Understanding how in-home daycares are licensed and regulated
The location of an in-home daycare in the U.S. affects how it is licensed. Each state has its own regulations that apply to in-home daycares. However, many states share similar guidelines. State licenses are often required to provide daycare and some states require a separate license to run a business in the provider’s city or town. Many states also require providers to maintain liability insurance for their daycare.
There are unique state regulations in place for individuals who want to become daycare providers, too. Generally, most states require providers to be at least 18 years of age. They must not have any felony convictions or arrests for child abuse on their record. This can also be required for any other adults living in the childcare home who are not the daycare provider. Some states also require an aspiring provider to complete a health examination to show that there are no medical issues that could put daycare children at risk.
To know your state’s particular rules and regulations regarding in-home daycares, you can search “In-home daycare laws in [state].” You can also check out Childcare Aware of America for some helpful resources and specifically check out Texas resources.
What a childcare license covers
A childcare license requires providers to meet specific program standards in order to operate their daycare legally. Again, individual state guidelines vary, but a childcare license often covers:
The group size, or maximum number of children allowed
The adult-to-child ratio, or the minimum number of adults that should supervise a specific number of children based on their age
Health standards such as immunizations, handwashing, diapering and giving medication
Safety standards such as emergency preparedness, sleep procedures, outdoors/playground safety and reporting illnesses or accidents
Food and nutrition protocols
Fire and safety drills
Education and training requirements
If your state does not require a license or regulations for in-home daycares, you will need to decide if an in-home daycare is still right for your family. To determine if a daycare is a good fit, set up a visit with any daycare providers you are considering and don’t be afraid to ask them questions about their safety standards. This includes asking questions like:
How many kids do they have enrolled?
Do they have an assistant that can take over in case of an emergency or illness?
What are their emergency and safety procedures?
An in-home daycare that doesn’t need to be licensed may be a great fit for your family, or you may feel more comfortable going to a daycare facility. Consider each potential in-home daycare provider and environment and don’t be afraid to keep looking if you don’t find the right fit.
Overall, in-home daycares are safe, but paying your due diligence will help ensure that you and your child are safe in any setting.
For more information:
Sara Mauskopf is the CEO and co-founder of Winnie, a website and app that helps parents discover the best daycares, preschools, and more. Winnie is growing fast with over one million parents in 10,000 cities across the United States.