This year on November 1, we will all fall back by turning our clocks back one hour unless you live in Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Despite yearly discussions and debate about eliminating the practice, we will continue the decades-old tradition of adjusting our time to gain more daylight in the early morning hours. Experts have long argued about the health and safety consequences of changing our time in the Spring and the Fall. Safety Toolbox says, “Pedestrians walking around at dusk are nearly three times more likely to be struck and killed by cars in the days following the end of daylight saving time than just before the time change. A study of seven years of nationwide traffic fatalities was conducted at Carnegie Mellon University, calculating the risk per mile walked for pedestrians. The study found that the per-mile risk jumps 186 percent from October to November.”
The Negative Consequences of Daylight Saving Time
It can be argued that fatal car accidents, heart attacks, and workplace injuries all increase in the days after the change. What will that mean to childcare facilities this year with everyone still struggling with the demands of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic? Let’s look at a few things we should prepare for and expect to see after the time change:
We can all expect our infants and toddlers to experience some disruption in their sleep schedules, leading to nap issues and overtired children.
We may also see our parents showing signs of fatigue as their child, who usually woke up at 6 am, is now waking up at 5 am!
This change can increase parent frustration with even further disruption in their lives. This time change also comes when many are dealing with job loss, financial issues, fear of the COVID-19 virus, and even increased seasonal depression symptoms as we move into the winter months.
Darker Days and Nights Can Result In More Crime
Another issue to address is the earlier sunset and increased darkness at your child care facility. Darkness is a friend of crime, and darkness in the evening is far deadlier than darkness in the morning.
Do your parking lots have adequate lighting? If not, it could lead to an increase in car burglaries, auto thefts, and attacks on staff—juvenile crime peaks in the after school and early evening hours. We routinely hear of cars being stolen from childcare facilities when parents leave them running and unattended, and your staff will undoubtedly be leaving your facility in the darkness. Ask yourself:
Do you have a safety plan such as walking out in pairs or groups?
Where do staff members park their cars? Can they be moved closer to the building for better security?
Does your facility have parking lot lighting? If not, get it!
Most parking lot lighting is on timers. Be sure to adjust the time setting as it will be getting dark much earlier than in the spring and summer months.
If your staff is walking the children out to their parent’s cars due to COVID-19, you will need increased lighting to avoid not being seen by other vehicles entering or exiting your drop off areas. Your staff may need flashlights or reflective gear to enhance their visibility. Your new dark procedures should be communicated with the parents at your child care program to make them more engaged and aware of the potential dangers during pickup times.
2020 has been a year filled with frustration and anxiety. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott introduced a bill to make daylight saving time permanent all year round to avoid the chance of causing even more stress, disruption, and aggravation. By preparing ahead, communicating with our parents, and making a few simple changes, we can help ease any adverse consequences from daylight saving time.
The Institute for Childhood Preparedness teaches emergency preparedness, situational awareness, and other safety techniques during our new hybrid training programs: online training followed by in-person practical training applications while adhering to COVID-19 safety measures. Schedule hybrid training today: https://www.childhoodpreparedness.org/training.