Health officials want set safety rules for child care centers

There's No Substitute for Experience

When Tennessee parents drop their children off at child care facilities, many automatically assume these facilities are following federally mandated standards. But, the truth is that these facilities really range on how safety measures, with some states even allowing self-certification.

Parents also rarely know when there are issues with a facility. However, this may all soon change as federal health officials are proposing somewhat of an overhaul on how child care facilities are monitored and what types of information is available to parents. This could lead to parents being able to make more informed decisions on where to place their children and a reduction in children's injuries at child care centers.

Right now in the U.S., roughly 1.6 million children go to child care facilities on subsidies from the federal government. But, the rules at these facilities range widely, which could be putting children in harm's way, which is why these proposals were made.

Under these proposals:

  • All employees need background and fingerprint checks.
  • Employees need to be trained in CPR, first aid, safe sleeping for babies and poison prevention.
  • Unannounced, on-site inspections will happen at child care facilities.
  • All licensing, health and safety inspection information would be posted online for parents to access.

If these proposals are accepted, child care centers would have to accept them in order to receive federal funding.

For parents, the news that child care facilities do not follow the same safety measures may be alarming -- even more so at those facilities where there is self certification. However, the hope is that these proposals are accepted, or at least the conversation around how to make child care centers safer continues on.

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