If you look at the additional notes for the safety practices item in the Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale-Revised (FCCERS-R), it lists as an example of a safety hazard “a mesh playpen with collapsible sides” (p. 30)*. So, what are they referring to here? Does this include ALL pack-n-plays or play yards?
Caring For Our Children states all cribs should meet American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. For non-full size cirbs/ play yards this standard is F406-10b. Collapsible cribs are only a safety hazard if the sides no long lock securely, if the model does not meet ASTM standards, or if the crib is no longer in good condition (holes in the mesh sides, missing parts, etc.). It is also important to note, these cribs/ play yards should only be used for their intended purpose and with the original fitted mattress.
In 2013, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) ruled for more strict and thorough testing of play yards. Play yards made after February 28, 2013 are held to a much stronger standard. A safety approved crib/ play yard is one that has been certified by ASTM, CPSC, and/or Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA). If looking for a crib, JPMA is a common certification you will see. JPMA is based on ASTM standards but also includes federal and state requirements as well as requirements from retailers; thus adhering to the highest level of product testing. It is important for providers to keep the manufacturers information (make, model, and certifications) for each crib in their early childhood program.
Check out these great one page CPSC handouts describing the updated requirements of play yards and crib safety as well as Safe Sleep for Babies.
*Harms, T., Cryer, D. & Clifford, R. (2007). Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale, Revised Edition. New York, NY: Teacher’s College Press.
One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is “How is nap scored if the assessor does not observe it?” Because we typically observe from 8:30-11:30, we often must find alternative ways to assess nap practices.
Sometimes an assessor will be able to observe some of the indicators of nap/rest even if it is not nap time. For example, assessors may be able to see how cots/ mats and bedding are stored for or are able to observe cot placement if they are arranged before lunch. In these cases, the observer will take note of this information and score accordingly. The cribs are typically already arranged in an infant room, thus the distance between each crib can be measured.
In instances when nap cannot be observed, the assessor will need to use the interview time to obtain information about the program’s nap practices. Some of the questions an assessor may ask include the following:
- Can you describe how nap is handled?
- How are the cots arranged for nap time?
- How is supervision handled at this time?
- How often is bedding washed?
- What do you do if a children are tired before naptime, have trouble settling down, or wake up early?
In some instances, it may be possible to see the cot arrangement at the end of the interview. Other times the assessor may ask the teacher to show or describe the placement of cots.
From time to time, we see infant providers who swaddle babies as a way to calm them and to help them sleep. In the most recent notes for clarification in the ITERS-R and FCCERS-R (9-2013), if we find children are being swaddled in center-based or family child care homes, it is considered inadequate care for nap practices. The guidelines come from the 2011 edition of Caring for Our Children (3rd edition). They state the swaddling is not necessary or recommended in child care settings. Some states (Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Texas) are even starting to address this issue in their licensing standards by banning the practice in child care settings.
Although the American Academy has not taken an official stance on this issue, we know that in the first days and weeks of life, swaddling can help sooth newborns and it mimics the close comfort of the womb. But Dr. Rachel Moon, chair of the task force that authored the American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep recommendations, recommends that swaddling should be stopped by the time a child reaches 2 months of age and before a baby intentionally starts to roll. This is about the same time that parents who need care outside the home will enroll their children in family or center-based care.
What are some of the concerns associated with swaddling?
- In center-based care, there can be multiple providers and some may not know the correct swaddling technique.
- Tight swaddling can lead to hip dysplasia in babies because there is not enough room for the baby to bend her legs up and out from her body.
- Dr. Moon states that swaddling may decrease a baby’s arousal making it harder for her to wake up which can be a risk factor for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
- Older infants who are swaddled may roll over and not be able to roll back which can cause suffocation.
- Swaddling can also lead to overheating, which is another risk factor for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
For more information:
Swaddling: Is it Safe?
Caring for Our Children, standard 126.96.36.199
FCCERS-R Additional Notes
ITERS-R Additional Notes