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Child Care Safety

Definition: Child care safety concentrates on protecting young children from hazards and diseases in child care settings such as day care centers; child care homes; preschools; and before- and after-school programs.

Magnitude of the Problem: According to the AAP a majority of children in the U.S. are enrolled in out of home child care programs.

According to a 2001 study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission child care centers were the locations of:

  • 2% of all injuries sustained by children two years old and younger
  • 54% of all injuries sustained by children 2-4 years of age
  • 42% of all injuries sustained by children 5-9 years of age

Playgrounds are the most frequent site of injuries in child care centers.

Other factors that contribute to injuries in this setting include:

  • Other children (pushing, throwing)
  • Furniture
  • Physical environment, e.g. radiators; glass doors; fences gates; vegetation.
  • Toys
  • Bicycles and sleds

Prevention: Regulation and inspections of child care setting vary across the country. Oversight of out of home child care safety lies with individual states, each of which develops its own regulations. The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association and the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care Settings have developed national guidelines that can help to inform the development of state regulations and help parents evaluate out of home child care settings to assure the healthy and safety of their children.