Reducing Risk in the Childcare Industry

Owning and operating a childcare business can be a fulfilling experience, but it comes with increasing financial, safety and liability risks and challenges. Whether it’s a national chain or an independent facility, daycare centers must ensure that adequate insurance coverage, staffing and security measures are in place at all times.

Toddler in a childcare group setting standing with arms raised over his head holding a toy airplane while a caregiver looks at him smiling

Staffing Challenges

Childcare centers face many ups and downs, particularly in terms of staffing. Hiring qualified and trustworthy staff members is critical to ensuring children receive the appropriate care, but recent staffing shortages across the industry have created new risks. All childcare facilities should be appropriately staffed at all times. Daycare owners and operators should also:

  • Screen potential employees and be sure to perform a detailed background check
  • Train staff members on child safety, pediatric CPR, first aid and general childcare skills
  • Create a reporting procedure for your staff members to follow in case of any safety issues
  • Have at least two adults per each group of children in your care
  • Hire enough staff to ensure children get the most one-on-one care possible

Safety First

When it comes to caring for children and safety, always err on the side of caution. To create a more secure environment, keep a low child-to-adult ratio in the classroom of at least 1:3 for infants and young toddlers, 1:6 for older toddlers and 1:9 for preschool-aged kids. Consult state or local laws for specific requirements regarding caregiver-to-child ratios.

Other safety measures should include:

  • Secure all medicines out of reach of children and instruct parents to give their children medications at home whenever possible. Staff members will also need to be trained on proper medication handling and storage. You should also have written parental authorization when it comes to administering medicine. In addition, keep all toxic materials away from reach. Accidental poisoning is a leading cause of death among children. Double check that any harsh chemical cleaners, medicines and other potentially hazardous substances are locked in childproof cabinets – and away from any food areas.
  • Ensure sleep safety. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death in infants between one month and one year of age. Staff should be trained on the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of infants in your client’s care, including positioning babies on their backs to sleep, avoid soft bedding, and remove any toys, blankets or bumper pads in cribs or portable play yards.
  • Maintain toy and play equipment safety. Discard damaged toys and inspect toys on a regular basis to ensure they are safe for children in your care. And don’t forget to stay up to date on toy and product recalls. Ensure play areas are free of tripping and choking hazards and keep playground surfaces and equipment in good condition at all times.
  • Monitor food safety. Children are prone to choking and will need to be monitored during designated snack times. Centers should also instruct staff to keep cooking surfaces, equipment and utensils clean to avoid cross contamination. There should be documentation of all allergies, so staff members know what foods are safe for each child.
  • Keep it clean. Small children are vulnerable to a variety of illnesses and carry germs that are easily spread to others. Be proactive when it comes to protecting against contagious illnesses by cleaning play areas daily and sanitizing all toys and surfaces; create and enforce a strict sick child policy specifying when children should stay home and procedures you will follow should a child get sick in your care. And last, but most definitely not least – make sure staff members and children wash their hands regularly.

There are innumerable risks to consider when owning a childcare business today and your insurance agent has access to proactive risk management tools and specialty insurance products to help reduce potential liability concerns and save the childcare center money on its insurance.

Convelo helps brokers reach more specialty insurance products and offers an in-depth understanding of childcare operational risks. Contact us today to learn more about your client’s childcare business-related risks and coverage needs.