Be Sure Your Child Care Setting Is
As Safe As It Can Be
About 31,000 children, 4 years old and younger,
were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for injuries at child care/school settings
in 1997. CPSC is aware of at least 56 children who have died in child care settings since
In a recent national study, CPSC staff visited a
number of child care settings and found that two-thirds of them had one or more
potentially serious hazards. Use the safety tips in this checklist to help keep
young children safe.
Child Care Safety Checklist for
Parents and Child Care Providers
- CRIBS: Make sure cribs meet current national
safety standards and are in good condition. Look for a certification safety seal. Older
cribs may not meet current standards. Crib slats should be no more than 2 3/8" apart,
and mattresses should fit snugly.
This can prevent strangulation and suffocation associated with older cribs and
mattresses that are too small.
- SOFT BEDDING: Be sure that no pillows, soft
bedding, or comforters are used when you put babies to sleep. Babies should be put to
sleep on their backs in a crib with a firm, flat mattress.
This can help reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and suffocation related to
- PLAYGROUND SURFACING: Look for safe
surfacing on outdoor playgrounds - at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand or pea
gravel, or mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials.
This helps protect against injuries from falls, especially head injuries.
- PLAYGROUND MAINTENANCE: Check playground
surfacing and equipment regularly to make sure they are maintained in good condition.
This can help prevent injuries, especially from falls.
- SAFETY GATES: Be sure that safety gates are
used to keep children away from potentially dangerous areas, especially stairs.
Safety gates can protect against many hazards, especially falls.
- WINDOW BLIND AND CURTAIN CORDS: Be sure
miniblinds and venetian blinds do not have looped cords. Check that vertical blinds,
continuous looped blinds, and drapery cords have tension or tie-down devices to hold the
These safety devices can prevent strangulation in the loops of window blind and curtain
- CLOTHING DRAWSTRINGS: Be sure there are no
drawstrings around the hood and neck of children's outerwear clothing. Other types of
clothing fasteners, like snaps, zippers, or hook and loop fasteners (such as Velcro),
should be used.
Drawstrings can catch on playground and other equipment and can strangle young
- RECALLED PRODUCTS: Check that no recalled
products are being used and that a current list of recalled children's products is readily
Recalled products pose a threat of injury or death. Displaying a list of recalled
products will remind caretakers and parents to remove or repair potentially dangerous
children's toys and products