Deciding who will be caring for your child, whether it be part-time or full-time, is a huge decision and parents need to make sure they do thorough research before selecting a child care home or center.
Ask family, friends, doctors, and co-workers if they recommend a provider; however, do not rely solely on that recommendation. Recommendations provide a good starting point for considering options, but parents need to be diligent to fully research a location before signing on the dotted line. Remember, child care centers and homes must be licensed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). Ask the provider to see their license - it will tell you the type of license they hold and the maximum number of children that may be in their care.
Do not feel obligated to choose a recommended provider, a family member or friend, or because of “tradition”. Family members and friends have lovingly watched children for generations. While this arrangement may be convenient for the parent, consideration for the child’s well-being needs to be contemplated. Ask yourself if your child will thrive in their care or will they miss out on enrichment, stimulation, and early educational opportunities. Choose a center or home that provides the right environment, hours of service, safety, educational focus, and the best overall care for your child.
Check the compliance and complaint history of a regulated Kansas child care facility by calling KDHE at 785-296-1270 or click here .
Ask the child care provider to explain their contract and policies. Diligently read the entire contract and ask questions. Contracts should provide information on cost, hours of service, scheduled time off, and other regulations. Providers should be able to tell you their procedures for caring for a sick child, transporting children, disciplining children and managing dietary requirements. Ask if you and your child can tour the center or home. Watch how your child interacts, and how the provider interacts with your child.
If your child is an infant ask the provider for their safe sleep policy and to view the sleeping area. Safe sleep areas and policies include:
- Placing a baby supine (on their back) to sleep, even for naps. Sleep position should be consistent whether at home or at the center. When babies who usually sleep on their backs are placed to sleep on their stomachs, they are at a markedly increased risk of sudden death.
- Placing a baby to sleep on a firm tight-fitting mattress, covered by a fitted sheet, in a crib that meets current safety standards. There should be no gaps between the sides of the crib and the mattress. The same guidelines apply to portable cribs and bassinets.
- Removing all blankets, pillows, quilts, comforters, stuffed animals, toys, bumper pads and other baby products from the baby’s immediate sleep area. These items can result in suffocation.
- Using sleep clothing, such as a one-piece sleeper, instead of a blanket or heavy quilt. The safest sleepwear is a comfortable fitting garment made of flame resistant fabric.
- Not using sleep-positioning devices, which have led to suffocation deaths and have been recalled.
- Not using old, broken or modified cribs, bassinets, or portable cribs. Checking hardware on cribs regularly to ensure they are tight and have not worked loose. Ask the provider if they have checked the CPSC website for recalls to ensure their crib/bassinet has not been recalled.