The thought of placing your newborn baby in daycare is frightening for new parents. Unfortunately, daycare centers are the only option for many parents who must work full-time outside the home. If you must use daycare, take proper steps to help keep your baby safe.
Provide your own meals. The best way to know what your baby is eating and drinking is to provide your own food and drinks. You will not need to worry about your baby drinking spoiled milk, outdated formula, or contaminated baby food if you provide your own. Make sure you label all bottles and food jars with your baby’s first and last name.
Take your own toys. Babies put everything in their mouths and you risk your baby getting sick by allowing him or her to play with daycare center toys which may not be properly sanitized. You do not want your baby sucking on a toy that was just sucked on by another baby. You also do not want your baby sucking on a toy that is saturated in disinfectant which could be toxic.
Say no to blankets. Some daycare centers ask parents to provide a blanket to use if the air conditioning is set on a cold temperature. Do not bring blankets or allow the daycare center to use blankets with your baby. If the room is cold, dress your baby in one piece coverall sleepwear, or other warm clothing. There is a possibility that the blanket could end up over your baby’s face while he or she is napping and cause suffocation. It only takes a few minutes for a baby to suffocate. There is also a higher risk of SIDS when there are blankets in the crib.
Be careful with baby bibs. If you use bibs because your baby drools or is teething, make sure the bib is not large enough to cover the baby’s nose if it is left on while the baby naps. A daycare worker may forget to remove the bib and it could end up over the baby’s face. If necessary, buy extra small bibs or hem large bibs to make them shorter.
No high chair please. When your baby is not under your supervision, you want to take extra precautions when it comes to safety. Insist that the workers hold your baby in their lap during feeding times. A high chair could easily be knocked over in a busy, crowded daycare and you don’t want your baby to be injured from a fall.
Examine the changing table. Look for a safety or security strap, and protective railing on the changing table. Changing tables are quite high and your baby could be seriously hurt if a fall occurs. Insist that your baby is always secured on the changing table when having her diaper changed.
Make unexpected visits. Plan to make unannounced periodic visits so that you will know for yourself what is going on inside the daycare. Are the workers washing their hands often enough, especially after changing diapers? Do they hold the babies or just let them cry in the cribs? Are they wiping down the changing table and rinsing off toys that have fallen on the floor? You will learn more about your baby’s daycare experience from your surprise visits that from any brochure or conversation that you have with workers.
As a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure your children’s safety in all situations. Follow the above tips and make sure you keep your baby safe in daycare.