Parents trust daycare centers in Alabama with the safety, health, and lives of their children. Unfortunately, not all childcare companies deserve this trust. Leaving your child at daycare should not end with a phone call about an emergency situation. As a parent, the best way to protect your child’s well-being is to check the safety and standards of the daycare center.
Look for Referrals From Trusted People
When deciding on which daycare to entrust with your child, look first for referrals from trusted friends or family members. Ask your pediatrician if there is a local daycare center he or she recommends. Finding a center the locals know and trust, can decrease the odds of encountering a daycare nightmare. If you cannot find any referrals, search for online reviews and news articles that pertain to the daycare center. Look for National Association of Family Child Care or other national accreditations.
Check for Adequate Supervision
Many daycare incidents and child injuries result from inadequate supervision on the premises. Failing to employ enough staff members for the number of children at the center can result in too many children for a single supervisor. Check with the daycare center to see what it keeps as its caregiver-to-child ratio.
Experts suggest a caregiver-to-child ratio of at least 1:3 for infants, 1:6 for toddlers, and 1:9 for preschool children. Ask about the average group size and how the center cares for every child. Drop in without notice occasionally to see how many caregivers are on the clock, and how the center is managing its children.
Ask About Caregiver Training
Another common issue at daycare centers is inadequately trained caregivers and staff members. Lack of proper training can lead to supervisors who are ill-equipped to handle emergencies, such as a child choking. The daycare center you choose should have proven health and safety policies that all employees must obey. Ask the director about the daycare center’s employee training protocols. Request to see CPR cards and other first-aid training certifications. Make sure the center keeps at least one staff member with first-aid certification on duty at all times.
Get to Know Staff Members
Spend some time interacting with the daycare center management, staff members, and caregivers. Meet the people who will be in charge of caring for your child. Check for signs of something amiss, such as a rude or brusque attitude, foul language, fighting with coworkers, lack of safety certifications, or a failure to watch the children in his/her care. The personalities of the staff members should be well-suited for the job of caring for multiple children. Trust your instincts.
Inform the Center of Medical Issues
If your child has any allergies, medical problems, or conditions, make sure to explain them in detail during the onboarding process. Most daycare centers in Alabama have protocols for uncovering and documenting this information. Ensure the daycare center has all the proper information about your child’s unique needs, as well as any medications, medical devices, and emergency contact numbers. Ask about the daycare center’s procedures in emergency medical situations.
Check Out the Premises
Unsafe premises cause many daycare center accidents and injuries. During your inspection of the daycare center, visit the property and search for obvious risks. These may include doors that do not lock, staircases without barriers, outdated bottle warmers, pools or open bodies of water without covers, rusty or poorly maintained playground equipment, trip and fall hazards, damaged electrical wires, and poor lighting. The daycare center you choose should keep up with property maintenance for the safety of children.
Do Not Ignore Red Flags
If you notice any signs of something suspicious as you are researching a daycare center, take your child elsewhere. Do not ignore warning signs of hazards just because the center is closest to your home, or has the lowest fees. Give your child the safest daycare experience possible by finding a center that prioritizes child health, safety, and well-being. Contact an attorney if you do experience a daycare nightmare in Alabama.