When you open a daycare center, you are making a promise to keep the children in your care safe from harm. However, no matter how hard you try, there are bound to be occasional accidents at your childcare facility. While there are many dangers in your daycare center that you may be aware of, there are quite a few that are hidden. Contrary to popular belief, most of these hidden dangers are indoors.
The five key areas in which indoor incidents may occur in daycare centers include:
- Physical structures
- Routine care
- Choking hazards
- Children’s materials
While there are certainly more than five potential indoor hazards daycare centers, I have broken this checklist down into five major categories. I will cover some potential indoor dangers under each major category.
When it comes to potential indoor dangers in your daycare center, the best place to start is with your building. There are many inherently dangerous hazards that we use every day. For example, electrical outlets are something that will be used regularly in your daycare. However, if they are left unprotected, they can be a serious threat to the children in your care. Another potential danger in your daycare center is exposed power cords which may be accidentally left out.
Your rugs and mats may also be a danger to the children in your daycare, as they represent potential tripping hazards. They can also be dangerous for your staff, and your student’s parents. While it may be a seasonal risk, unprotected radiators can be a burning risk in the winter. You must also be aware of open stairwells, or doors that may be left open while people are arriving and leaving your daycare. Children can get into trouble quite quickly if left unattended around these hazards.
Two indoor childcare hazards that deal directly with your building’s construction are protruding nails and splintering wood. Exposure to either of these can result in a serious cut, which may need immediate medical attention. If not addressed immediately, either of these indoor dangers can result in a serious infection. You may want to keep your eye out for any occurrences of peeling paint in your daycare center, as younger children have a knack for putting anything and everything they find into their mouths.
Children in your daycare center are going to use furniture every day. One of the most obvious dangers of furniture is if it is shaky or unstable, which could collapse and lead to a serious injury for one of your students. This is why it is especially important to replace your daycare’s furniture when it gets old. Many types of furniture also have sharp corners and points that could be potentially dangerous. Children in your daycare could be badly cut if they are not careful around these corners or points.
Just like with your daycare center’s construction, the furniture in your daycare cant have protruding nails or screws that can lead to an accident. Make sure that your furniture is assembled properly, and inspected regularly. Children also like to climb on furniture, which could cause it to tip over. While this may not initially be seen as a potential danger, using furniture that is not the appropriate size can also be harmful to the children. Bean bag chairs in your daycare center can also be dangerous, because they are a smothering risk.
Learn about the best childcare furniture for your daycare.
Furniture placement is yet another area in which there could be hidden dangers in your daycare. Taller furniture interferes with the proper supervision of your students. You will also want to make sure that your furniture is not placed too closely together. This could be a big problem in a falling incident. Make sure that your rocking chairs are not in an area that is easily accessible to infants and toddlers. Finally, you will need to make sure that any furniture in your daycare center is not placed in close access to other hazards.
Some of the products and chemicals you use in the routine care of your daycare center are quite dangerous. Bleach, cleaning solutions, or disinfecting solutions should be kept away from surfaces such as diaper changing tables and meal or snack tables. The best way to prevent any incidents with these cleaning solutions is to keep them locked away in a supply closet that is not accessible to your students. You should also ensure that your daycare’s cleaning supplies all have childproof caps on them.
If the children in your daycare center have unsupervised access to water, this could lead to injuries resulting from slipping. Water that is above 120 degrees Fahrenheit can also cause burns. In keeping with the risk of your students getting burned, any containers containing hot liquid or food should be kept out of the reach of these children. They should not have access to microwave ovens or stoves either. All of the cooking supplies and utensils should be kept away from your students.
The last area under the routine care umbrella that you should be especially careful with concerns your infant area. Mattresses should fit snugly into cribs, without loose blankets, sheets, clothing, or stuffed animals in them. There are also plenty of dangers in your daycare’s diaper changing area. For example, your diaper changing table should have at least a six-inch raised edge around it to prevent infants from falling off. You should also make sure that your diaper changing table is sturdy, and has safety straps securely attached to it.
Any time you care for kids, there are going to be choking hazards that they are inevitably going to find. Small objects tend to make their way into children’s mouths. The problem is that they are usually so small that they go unseen by you and your daycare staff. Some of these objects are less than 1 ¼ inch in diameter. Conducting routine floor inspections can be an effective way to prevent small children from discovering them.
Another way that you can prevent choking hazards in your daycare is by purchasing a choking test tube. This is an inexpensive tube that can be used to detect choking hazards by inserting objects into the tube. If they fit, then they are a danger to small children. If the objects do not fit into the tube, then they probably will not be seen as a choking hazard. If you have small children in your daycare, this is a necessary item.
The toys that the children in your daycare center play with can also be dangerous. If not stored away properly, these toys have the potential to cause serious injuries or harm to your students. Make sure that heavier toys should be stored out of the reach. They could pull these toys down on their heads, possibly knocking them unconscious. One of the last things you could want in your daycare center is a child with head trauma.
Children under 18 months old should also be kept away from sensory materials. These items include red kidney beans, styrofoam, balloons, corn starch and flour, glitter, and sand. All of these are very small and could lead to choking. You should also make sure that your daycare staff is properly storing any backpacks or children’s bags that may contain substances or materials that are hazardous to children.
There are many indoor dangers in your daycare center. Some of these dangers are obvious, while others may go unseen. There are potential dangers in the construction of your building, your furniture, in the routine care of your students, choking hazards, and in the material you used to care for these children. Toys also represent another facet of indoor dangers in your daycare. However, there are a few simple measures you can put into place that can prevent the children in your care from serious harm or injury. A thorough checklist can be found at Virtual Lab School.
How much does it cost to open a daycare center? There are many different costs associated with starting a daycare center. These costs can range between $10,000 and $50,000, depending on the equipment you need to purchase, and how many upgrades you are going to need to make to your center.
Should my daycare provide transportation to and from school? Many of the children attending daycare in the United States also attend school. Some of these children have parents who need to be at work early. They depend on daycares to take care of their children before and after school. By providing transportation to and from school, daycares can help working parents by taking one thing off of their plates.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
To learn more on how to start your own daycare checkout my startup course and documents here.
Meet Shawn Chun: Entrepreneur and Childcare Business Fan.
I’m a happy individual who happens to be an entrepreneur. I have owned several types of businesses in my life from a coffee shop to an import and export business to an online review business plus a few more and now I create online daycare business resources for those interested in starting new ventures. It’s demanding work but I love it. I do it for those passionate about their business and their goals. That’s why when I meet a childcare business owner, I see myself. I know how hard the struggle is to retain clients, find good employees and keep the business growing all while trying to stay competitive.
That’s why I created Daycare Business Boss: I want to help childcare business owners like you build a thriving business that brings you endless joy and supports your ideal lifestyle.