Day Care – Choosing a Good Center
If you are having any symptoms or have any questions, please call 811 to speak with a registered nurse 24 hours a day.
What should I look for in a day care center?
Whether you are considering a commercial day care center or one in someone’s home, you should check it out carefully. Ask questions of the staff. Talk to parents of other children at the day care center. Look over the center carefully. This handout gives you a list of questions to get started.
Ask about the child to staff ratio.
- How many children are there for each staff member? The required number of adults per children and maximum group size varies according to the age of children in the group.
- Are the younger and older children separated? Separating the older and younger children helps reduce the number of infections that are passed around.
Ask about the center’s policies.
- What are the center’s policies on discipline and other important issues?
- Are the policies in writing? Ask for a copy.
Ask how the center cares for sick children.
- How is medicine given?
- How are parents told about illness among the children?
- When must children stay home because of illness?
- Does the day care center keep a record of health-related problems, such as illnesses, injuries and accidents, for each child?
Ask about staff training.
- What are the training requirements for staff members?
- Are all staff members certified in basic first aid?
- Are all staff members trained in child development?
Check building and playground safety.
- Are the children protected from strangers?
- Are fire drills held?
- Are there smoke alarms throughout the building?
- Are safety gates used in areas for small children?
- Are electric outlets covered?
- Are the toys kept clean?
- Does the day care staff regularly clean all surfaces with disinfectant?
What can I do to keep day care safe for my child?
- Visit with the staff at the day care center. Go to meetings for family members and learn about the concerns of staff and other parents.
- Ask your child every day about what happened at day care.
What are some signs that would tell me if there are problems?
- The staff fails to answer your questions and address your concerns.
- There is no way for parents to be involved in the day care practices.
- Your child tells you about problems or is not happy with their day care experience.
- Unexplained accidents happen more than once.
- The staff changes often.
- The management can’t offer you a written copy of the day care policies.
- Other parents tell you about problems or concerns with the day care center.
If you suspect there are problems, contact the agency in your province that governs day care centers. (You can find the number in the phone book.)
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
Prince Edward Island Child Care Act: