According to a 1999 Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) study, child care centre visits showed that two-thirds had one or more potentially serious safety hazards. In addition, 31,000 children were taken to emergency hospital rooms for injuries from child care or school settings in 1997, the CPSC says. Parents and child care providers can implement safety procedures and policies to guarantee children’s safety.
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Sick Child Policies
Child care centres should have sick child guidelines so that parents know when it’s acceptable to send their child back to child care after an illness. While each child care centre has to determine what it’s comfortable with allowing, parents should know to leave their children home when a child has experienced a sore throat, vomiting, diarrhoea or a fever in the last 24 hours. Also, children should be free of these ailments for 24 hours before returning to day care centre. Paediatrician Dr. William Sears says that most colds and coughs don’t warrant a stay home from child care. A dry, hacking cough, he says, is not a reason to quarantine a child. Also, colds with clear nasal secretions are usually not a cause for concern as long as the parents and child care providers teach the child to cover his mouth when he coughs and to use a tissue to take care of mucous excretions. Once nasal secretions become yellow or green, and if they're accompanied by other symptoms, parents should keep children home, Sears says. Child care providers should also know and understand that certain children might have cold symptoms when they’re simply experiencing seasonal allergies. Child care centres that are licensed by certain states may be required to follow state guidelines regarding sick children.
Child Care Equipment
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that children and child care providers inspect child care centre equipment to make sure none of the supplies has been recalled and that everything is safe. The CPSC says that cribs should meet current safety standards. For instance, crib slats should be no more than two and three-eighths inches apart, and crib mattresses should always fit snugly inside the crib. Older cribs might present a strangulation or suffocation hazard. In addition, cribs shouldn’t have any soft bedding, pillow or comforters. Parents and child care providers should check the Consumer Product Safety Commission to keep up-to-date on recalls.
Many child care centres have play areas outside. The CPSC recommends that outside playground areas have safe surfacing, such as wood chips, sand, pea gravel or mulch. The surface should be at least 12 inches deep. Playground equipment should be checked regularly to make sure it’s still in good shape and that no repairs are needed.
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