Dropping your kids off at day care takes a leap of faith. You are putting your children's lives in someone else's hands. Up until this moment, you may have always been in control. Now you are ceding that control to someone else.
If you feel anxious, do not just assume you have the same nerves that all parents do and that you need to get over it. Picking the right day care center is critical. If you feel especially nervous, ask yourself why. What is triggering that fear? Is this actually a dangerous day care where your child could suffer an injury?
It may be. Here are a few red flags of which you should be aware:
Not enough staff
The center must have enough staff to actually look after all of the children. If you walk in and one overwhelmed worker is trying to care for all of the kids, the risks of accidents and/or neglect are greater.
For instance, one woman dropped her daughter off at a day care center and came back to get her, but the staff did not know where the girl was. For a brief moment, the mother panicked. While they did find the girl taking a nap under a blanket, that type of negligence is very frightening. Children do not have to disappear for long to get seriously injured.
Even if the staff seems friendly and caring, if the center does not have the proper licensing, avoid it. You have no way of knowing just how safe that location is. Likewise, the staff knows they should have a license. If they are willing to operate without one, what other rules are they willing to break? How could that put your child in danger?
Obvious safety issues
While some safety issues are a bit harder for a parent to uncover, some things are quite obvious. Is there a smoke detector in every room? If not, or if there are dead batteries in some of the detectors, go somewhere else. When issues are this obvious, odds are that other hidden issues exist as well.
You also want to make sure that any dangerous chemicals and cleaning supplies are stored properly out of the kids' reach, that the day care has a disaster plan for escape if there is a fire or a similar issue and that the facility has a secure system in place to connect children with their parents at pick-up.
After an injury
Looking for reg flags is a good place to begin, but children can still get hurt at a day care that appears safe. When this happens, you must know all of the legal options you have to seek financial compensation.