Editor’s note: This article is written for the benefit of individuals who own or run daycare facilities. However, I thought that the tips could be helpful for parents too, as it gives you some things to look for in a quality daycare.
If you run a daycare, you are legally bound to keep the children that you look after safe and secure. Sometimes this is easier said than done. Ask any person who has watched numerous toddlers and they will tell you that keeping children within sight and safe is not a simple task. Here are five ways that you can ensure that your daycare is safe for everyone:
According to the Child Care Advocate Program of the California Department of Social Services, installing mirrors on the corners of your buildings can help you see around a corner, better discovering people and situations that are potentially hazardous. Installing mirrors strategically throughout your center can help you keep a closer eye on children as they move about and out of your direct line of vision. Concave, convex and dome mirrors installed on your property and throughout your facility can help provide an added measure of security.
While there’s little doubt that you want to discourage your employees from using their cell phones on your dime, you should have at least one cell phone in each room of your center. Prepaid cell phones are rather inexpensive, especially when used only in emergency situations. Purchase a phone for each room, along with a card that provides the minimum amount of minutes. Activate the phones and place them throughout your center. This will ensure that your employees have access to a phone no matter the situation.
A system of code words can help employees alert each other to emergency situations without alarming the children or, if present, alerting an intruder. Inform each staff member of the code words or phrases that you come up with as part of your emergency response plan. Practice using these words during drills frequently so that the words become committed to memory. The words that you choose are up to you, but they should not be so obscure that they are difficult to recall under stress.
It may seem like common sense, but walk around your center and its property, checking to be sure that locks are both installed and secure. You may want to speak with your state licensing board before installing locks. Many states require that a parent be able to access your facility unannounced; providing keys to parents may be cumbersome. If you have the funds, installing electronic keypads at all secure entryways will make things easier on your entire staff.
5.Call the Police
Did you know that most law enforcement agencies will conduct a security walk-through of your business for you at no charge? Phone your local department’s non-emergency line, tell them that you are operating a daycare facility and request a security inspection. You may also choose to call the local fire department and ask for the same thing, if this is not already required by the licensing board.
Children’s safety is paramount when you operate a daycare facility. Parents are entrusting you to care for their child in their absence. Follow these tips, along with any requirements set forth by the state, when opening your facility to help ensure safety and security for your staff and your children.
Claire Taylor is an avid blogger. If you want to make sure you have all of the tools you need to run a safe daycare, look into purchasing daycare mirrors.
Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want their kids in safe daycares.