Getting Down to the Nitty Gritty

So, for the next few weeks, I want to expand upon “What Parents are Looking for in a Dayhome”.  I feel it is important that we get down to the nitty gritty, so here goes.
This week’s topic is:

Is your dayhome safe for children of all ages? We realise you cannot plan for every possible eventuality, but our peace of mind is your peace of mind, because you want them to be safe too!

Alright, so what kinds of safety standards are there, where can you find that information, and what tools are out there to help you be a Dayhome that parents know is safe?
Firstly, Safety Standards for Dayhomes. Well, the short answer is that unless you are with an agency, in Alberta there is no easy way to find what the really specific safety standards are. The Family Dayhome Standards Manual for Alberta has a basic checklist which licensed dayhomes must comply with. If you want to read through the document, here it is http://www.child.alberta.ca/home/documents/childcare/Family_Day_Home_Standards.pdf
On the checklist is:

  • you must have emergency plans for evacuation procedures, as well as a preset evacuation route. All of this must be written down and accessible.
  • All developmentally able children need to know where they will meet you outside of your home in the event of a fire.
  • You need to practice fire drills monthly, preferably using the actual smoke alarm so children know what that means.
  • You need to have a working phone available with you at all times
  • You need to know the different procedures for calling for help. ie: 911, poison control, etc.
  • You need to have phone numbers for: emergency medical service, ambulance, fire department, police, poison control, child abuse hotline and the nearest hospital or emergency medical facility. All these phone numbers need to be easily accessible.
  • All medicines, including vitamins, must be kept away from children, under lock and key
  • All chemicals, alcohol, personal products and cleaning supplies must be stored where children cannot access them

In my search, I came across some checklists from other parts of the world (Australia and the Yukon to be exact!), and other resource sources, which I think would also be really helpful for both dayhomes and parents.  You can find those checklists here:

As for tools to check off all those little boxes, there are a few companies that make fantastic safety equipment.  Just a caveat here, I am NOT being sponsored by these companies to recommend them, I just happen to like them personally, so use what works for you!
Safety 1st – they make latches, door handle covers, garbage can locks, toilet seat locks, baby gates, plug covers, monitoring devices, etc.
KidCo – they make most of the same devices as Safety 1st. Their specialty is gates of all shapes, sizes and needs. I REALLY like their foam edge protector. Its great to prevent some of the bumped heads as kids are starting to walk. I also happen to LOVE their Pea Pod Bed – a fantastic alternative to a playpen.
Prince Lion Heart – they don’t make as many devices as the other two companies, but what they do make, they make well. They make a good stove guard,  and they also make a good variety of edge guards for corners, fire places, tables, etc.

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