What to look for when visiting prospective day care centers and family day care homes.
Child-to-staff ratio of 3:1 in a center caring for infants, 4:1 for 2-year-olds, and 7:1 for 3-year-olds.
Children should be supervised at all times.
Dedicated, friendly caregivers who are trained in child development, early-childhood education, or a related field
Center that's licensed and regularly inspected for health and cleanliness
Written policy on caring for ill children
Limited or no TV viewing
Safe sleep and play environments
Clean toys in good condition with no sharp edges
Diapering area separate from children's play areas
Perishable food refrigerated
Cleaning supplies and other toxic materials in locked cabinet
Easily accessible first-aid kit and posted emergency numbers
Electrical outlets covered with protective caps
Security gates at top and bottom of stairs
Window guards on all windows except designated fire exits
Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers
All outside play areas enclosed; soft surfaces under all equipment
An emergency evacuation plan
Child Care: How to Find Quality Child Care
Copyright ? 2001 by Meredith Corporation.