By Rachel Perez
Keeping kids safe is important, no matter the situation. For at-home childcare providers, child safety is imperative—and for a good reason. Children are naturally curious, and curiosity often invites danger.
However, with established plans and regular research, childcare providers ensure the safety of the kids in their care every day. Here are six safety tips for at-home childcare providers.
Use Robust Home Security Systems
In a home full of children, you need advanced safety at all times. Home security systems provide front-line protection and ongoing peace of mind. As well, many come with customizable options to ensure your home stays safe from every angle.
Common security system benefits include:
● Cameras to keep an eye on all areas of the house at once.
● Motion detectors to ensure off-limits areas stay off-limits.
● Active emergency monitoring for fire, break-ins, and more.
The major downside to home security systems is the cost. On average, monitored systems range from $200 to over $500, after additional services and features. Active monthly subscriptions and service fees add to that total with monthly costs.
Every security system is different, and different styles of security fall into various price points. In addition, every home will have specific security needs. Do the research to find an option that best suits your home.
Hone Your Emergency Preparedness Plans
Along with security systems, preparation for an emergency helps ensure the safety of the children. The best way to prepare is to have a plan of action.
Emergency preparedness plans provide a framework of action during any number of emergencies. Every plan is different, but they all focus on specific safety requirements. Some common steps include:
● Evacuate to the designated safe space in any emergency.
● Stock enough non-perishable food and water for your standard care load.
● Establish communication with families as soon as possible.
It’s a great idea to create plans for different types of emergencies. The best actions during a fire are quite different from an active shooter situation. It pays to prepare for the worst. You hope it never comes to pass, but if it does, you are ready.
Perform Routine Emergency Drills with the Kids
A significant aspect of any emergency preparedness plan is routine emergency drills.
Be sure to perform drills for any possible emergency or disaster in your area. This includes earthquakes, floods, storms, and active shooter events. Remember to make the drills targeted to the age group of your children. For example:
● Younger kids should sing a song to help them remember the evacuation steps.
● Develop a buddy system for school-age kids.
● In mixed-age groups, ask an older child to be the safety monitor. They help form lines, lead evacuations, and assist other kids.
Additionally, establish safe evacuation points for different scenarios. Where should everyone go during a fire, a tornado, or even a power outage? With routine drilling and updated emergency preparedness plans, your home will remain a safe harbor in any situation.
Understand the Neighborhood
Making your home a safe space is the first step, but true safety adapts to the changes of the area. Stay on top of neighborhood news and statistics. This helps one remain aware of crime alerts, construction updates, and even hazard warnings.
Take routine walks through the community. Chat with the neighbors. Share news about safety concerns, from potholes to car break-ins. Also, always be on the lookout for anything suspicious. Your neighborhood is just as important as the home, especially when your role is as a protector.
Get used to using several neighborhood safety tools. Community safety is an important issue across the country, and several services reflect that fact, from mobile apps to online neighborhood groups. Many tools rely on input and updates from the public to provide a live safety network. For example:
● Some websites compile crime activity in the area (and surrounding areas).
● Social networking services allow message boards, live chats, and media sharing across neighborhoods to share safety updates and crime alerts.
● Mobile apps provide up-to-the-minute emergency alerts and other safety information for your area.
An active safety network throughout the community helps keep everyone safe and informed.
Follow High Standards of Sanitization
Ensuring the cleanliness of toys and surfaces is essential to keeping a healthy and safe environment. However, different items require different levels of cleaning and sanitization. For example:
● Soak infant toys with high mouthing likelihoods in a solution of 1 teaspoon of bleach in 1 gallon of water.
● Don’t use non-washable toys with young children. Match toys and surfaces to the ages of the kids.
● Spray a solution of a ½ teaspoon of bleach and 1 quart of water to sanitize eating surfaces.
If a toy or surface becomes contaminated, remove them from the area. Set aside soiled toys in an unreachable container until sanitization occurs. Immediately address soiled surfaces, either through removal or direct cleaning.
To avoid conflicts, have plenty of toys in reserve to replace a soiled toy. Do the same for changes of clothes, bedding, and anything else that might become soiled. Dirt will happen, but having a system in place ensures good health and happy kids.
Keep Your Health and Safety Checklist Accessible to All
A visible checklist is one of the best ways to ensure your home’s daily health and safety. Providing an accessible list of vital safety steps helps everyone, including other parents and children.
There is no such thing as a safety checklist with too many steps. In fact, health and safety checklists should always reflect any necessary action needed for safety. Many existing checklists cover a range of practices and requirements. These include:
● Sanitization steps for any circumstance.
● Daily healthy routines, including exercise and outdoor time.
● Medication administration and logging.
If you follow an existing checklist, customize it to the specific needs of your house. Otherwise, use templates to create a checklist that ensures daily safety.
Creating an environment of safety is essential for an at-home childcare provider. There are many ways to ensure a safe home, from security systems to real-time neighborhood safety alerts.
Be sure to have emergency plans in place. Make emergency drills a routine occurrence. Ensure everyone knows and understands what to do in an emergency.
Keep your home clean, and practice hygienic toy and surface maintenance. Lastly, always follow your health and safety checklists to ensure daily adherence to your standards.