Choosing a Caregiver

Whether you are looking for a regular child care provider or someone to help out here and there, below are some good questions to help ensure your child will be safe and well cared for in your absence.

 

Overview

+ Basic Guidelines for Caregivers

  • Maintain Proper Supervision: Children should never be left unattended even for a short period of time.

  • Safe Storage - Hazards: All firearms, wapons, dangerous tools, and sharp objects should be locked and/or stored out of reach of children. All medications, vitamins, and supplements should be stored in the original container and in a locked box whenever possible. Alcohol and marijuana should be stored in a locked cabinet and out of the reach of children. Learn more about safe storage here.

  • Smoke-Free Zones: Children should never be exposed to secondhand smoke. Do not allow anyone to smoke around your child. If smoking occurs outside, age appropriate supervision should be provided at all times by another approved caregiver. Learn more about smoke-free environments here.

+ Questions to Ask Potential Caregivers

WEAPONS:

  1. Are firearms kept in the house? If so, how are they stored? Are they locked up? Are bullets stored separate from firearms?
  2. Where are sharp or dangerous objects kept?

MEDICATIONS/POISONS:

  1. Where are medications stored? (This includes prescription drugs, over the counter medications, vitamins, and supplements)
  2. If there is any alcohol, marijuana, or other substances in the home, how is it stored?
  3. Do you or any person in the home smoke? If so, does smoking take place inside or outside the home? How are cigarette butts disposed of? Is liquid nicotine used? If so, how is it stored?
  4. If smoking happens outside, who watches the children during smoke breaks?
  5. How are cleaning supplies stored? (This includes bleach, detergent pods, glass cleaner and all other hazardous household chemicals)

HAZARDS:

  1. Are potential choking hazards kept out of the reach of babies?
  2. Do you have any pets? If so, what are the types of animals and where are they during the hours you care for children?
  3. Are electrical outlets safety-capped? Do you have a fire extinguisher? First aid kit? Other safety measures in place?
  4. What areas of the home are children limited to (first floor, backyard)?
  5. If there is a pool, what safety measures are in place to keep children from going near it?

OTHER ADULTS:

  1. Are there visitors in your home during the hours children are being cared for? If so, please explain who, how often they visit and why they are there.
  2. Does the provider have a consistent substitute caregiver in case of an emergency? Who?

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