We at DC Insurance understand the hard work and unending patience that come with running a child care. We recognize that the education and safety of your daycare children is your number one priority each day. That’s why we wanted to go over some of the most common injuries that children sustain in daycare and how you, the child care provider, can help to prevent those injuries.
By far the most common injuries that occur in daycares are playground-related injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 200,000 children ages 14 and under are taken to the emergency room each year for injuries sustained on a playground. The majority of these playground injuries occur at schools and daycare centers with the severity of the injuries ranging from minor cuts and bruises to major traumas such as skull fractures and strangulation. Clearly, outdoor play time poses a major risk for anyone taking care of children.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should force your daycare kids to sit inside watching movies all day. For young children, play is essential for the development of motor and social skills. However, there are many things you can do to minimize the injuries sustained while your daycare children are playing on the playground.
If the playground is on your premises, it is important that it is well-maintained, with all of the required safety regulations in place. Make sure there are no loose screws or nails, sharp edges, or hazardous objects that could potentially endanger the children. The area around the play structure should be free of things like tree roots or large rocks that children could fall on. If you are going to a park or other public playground, you should do a quick inspection to ensure that the playground is safe for your children to play on.
The number one safety measure you can take while children are playing on the playground is to supervise them at all times. It only takes an instant for a child to get hurt. Never step inside “just for a second,” whether it’s to change a diaper or answer the phone. If you must step away from the playground and there are no other adults watching them, bring the children with you.
Falling objects are another common cause of injury in daycares. Children are often rushed to the hospital after being struck by heavy objects which have fallen from shelves or bookcases. In many instances, the shelves or bookcases themselves fall on top of the children. This can be prevented by securing bookcases to the wall and making sure shelves are fixed in place. Placing heavy objects on lower shelves prevents these objects from falling on top of small children. Any items not intended for children should be placed in a room that the children don’t have access to. Again, supervising the children at all times also prevents a lot of these injuries.
If you use bottle warmers or crock pots to heat up formula for your infants, you should know that scalds are the number one cause of burn injury to children under the age of 4. Young children will try to get to their bottles or will simply see a cord hanging down and pull on it, and the results can be devastating. The safest thing to do is to stop heating bottles altogether. It is not necessary to heat up baby formula, and the risk of having these heating devices in your daycare is simply too great. If a parent insists that their child needs warm formula, you can heat up the bottles under running water in the sink. This is a much safer option for your daycare.
Children are rambunctious and energetic, and accidents are occasionally going to happen. However, by following these safety precautions and by closely supervising the children at all times, you can greatly lessen the frequency and severity of injuries sustained in your daycare. Feel free to add your additional safety tips in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!