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Keeping your child safe in Daycare

It's a parent's biggest fear - putting your child in daycare. Leaving home to go back to work can be a trying time on any parent. You wonder, how can I trust these people I don't know to care for my child? Can they truly give my child the kind of care that will not only be safe, but be beneficial for his or her development and social skills? Well, that depends on the daycare establishment of course. And more importantly, the daycare employees.

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According to a recent study, many daycare providers are not aware of how crucial it is to put an infant on his/her back while sleeping - and that this reason alone can reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) among infants substantially. This study also concludes that 20 percent of national SIDS deaths occur in daycare. According to researchers at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington D.C., only 57 percent of the 172 licensed daycares that were studied had heard of the important "Back to Sleep Campaign" founded by the American Academy of Pediatrics." Furthermore, only one third of the 172 studied daycare said they put infants on their backs on a regular basis. This is a very frightening thought.

There are however a few things you can do to help avoid daycare dangers. According to the Child Care Action Campaign follow these tips and you can help put your mind to ease.

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First - Be aware of how the daycare employees socialize with the children. Do they keep a personalized relationship with each of the children or do they watch over them as a group, neglecting some of the children's personal needs. (Keep in mind that according to safety standards, there must be 1 daycare employee per three young children). Are the daycare employees active participants in the children's games and lessons or do they just kind of stand by and watch over them. Are the caregivers happy and cheerful, or do they seem bored and unsatisfied with their jobs. Do the children look clean? Is the daycare clean and sanitary?

Second - Pay close attention to what the children are saying or the kinds of noises they are making. Do they sound content and happy? The more noise that is made, usually the more unhappy or out of control the children may be. And likewise, too little noise may indicate not enough activity or socialization with the children.

Third - Like mentioned in number one, how many employees are there for the chidlren. There should be no more than between three or four children per caregiver.

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Fourth - Make sure to conduct an interview with the daycare director. Make sure to ask about the requirements for hiring an employee. Is childcare education required? Most centers do require this. What is the turnover rate in the particular daycare center? A high turnover could indicate serious problems with the establishment. And most importantly, look for proof of accredidation.

And of course, any other questions you can ask will be beneficial for both you and your child. Don't feel like you are being annoying by asking to many questions or that you look like a paranoid mother. You would be surprised by how many mothers drill daycare centers looking for the quality they require for their children. Remember, nothing is more precious than our children. And if a daycare center seems annoyed with your questions, then they are obviously not the right daycare for your child. If a daycare establishment cannot understand a parents love for their children, that they daycare center should be abolished.