Can Providers Use Pack-n-Plays/ Play Yards for Nap?

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?

play yard_bing_share and useCaring 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.

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner is an Early Childhood Coordinator with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach. Melissa has over 10 years of experience with the Environment Rating Scales as an assessor for research projects and Iowa's Quality Rating System and now as the ERS Training project coordinator. Melissa loves hearing success stories about providers who have made great strides to improve the quality of care within their program. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, camping, and house projects.

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Winter Reminders: Playground Safety

With the current snow and freezing temperatures it is important to remind providers about conditions in the winter that have the potential for causing serious injuries on the playground.

  1. Many providers in Iowa use loose-filled surfacing under and around playground equipment to provide cushioning in the event of a fall. The U.S. Consumer and Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Public Playground Safety Handbook reminds us that freezing temperatures result in the protective surfacing in and around playground equipment to also freeze. Even if the first few layers are loose, the base layer may be frozen and will not provide adequate impact absorption if a child falls from the equipment. If these conditions exist, the CPSC recommends that children not use equipment requiring fall zone protection.
  2. Those howling winter winds can also cause loose-filled like mulch or wood chips to be blown around which can result in inadequate protection.   Just as in the summer months, it is important to remind providers to rake the material and check the surface to make sure there is adequate protection.
  3. Ice can make a play structure including the stairs, slides and platforms to be slippery increasing the risk of falls. In the event of these conditions, ice should be removed from the equipment prior to children being allowed to use it. Snow and ice can also build up on trip limbs creating potential hazards if children play under trees. Regular pruning is recommended.
  4. Snow on a playground is fun for play, but can also conceal hidden hazards such as, glass or other unsafe items that can harm children. Even if the snow surface looks pristine, it is important to remind providers to still do those routine maintenance checks to make sure the playground surface is hazard-free.

snow playgroundWith all these hazards and the time it takes to get children dressed properly for outdoor play, why is it important for children to play outside in the winter (weather permitting)? Because research shows that children that play outside are actually healthier and besides its fun!

What winter tips do you have for providers?

What activities do you suggest to providers when climbing equipment is not safe to use?

 

 

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References:

U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission, April, 2008. Handbook for Public Playground Safety, page 18, http://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/122149/325.pdf

Playground Magazine, Volume 9 – No. 5 winter, 2009-2010, “The Chill Effect: Winter Tips for Playground Surfaces” www.playgroundmag.org

Child Care Weather Watch Chart www.isbe.net/pdf/school_health/wind-heat-chart.pdf

 

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner is an Early Childhood Coordinator with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach. Melissa has over 10 years of experience with the Environment Rating Scales as an assessor for research projects and Iowa's Quality Rating System and now as the ERS Training project coordinator. Melissa loves hearing success stories about providers who have made great strides to improve the quality of care within their program. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, camping, and house projects.

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Supervision of Toileting: Allow Privacy or Keep Children within Sight?

Frequently we observe teachers and providers who want to close the door to the bathroom while a child is using the toilet to ensure privacy. This can be a problem with young children because the provider cannot see the child to protect their safety. Bathrooms have several areas that can be at risk to children.

child care bathroom

  • Drowning. Children can drown in less than a couple inches of water and in a matter of seconds. Bathrooms have toilets and sinks that hold water.
  • Chemicals and Medicines. Bathrooms are often a storage place for cleaning chemicals, medications and ointments. Soaps can even be hazardous if swallowed; which is why they should be used under adult supervision. All other items labeled “keep out of reach of children” should be locked away.
  • Burns and Shocks. Accessible outlets without safety covers. Especially in homes, you might find curling irons, straighteners or other hot appliances left out.
  • Falls. We know children love to climb and bathroom toilets, step stools and countertops are all inviting surfaces for children to use as climbing structures. Climbing on any of these surfaces can quickly lead to falls. Bathroom floors easily become wet and slippery. It is important to be sure wet floors are wiped up promptly.

A lack of supervision can also lead to poor hygiene practices and uncleanliness. It is important to ensure children are using the toileting facilities properly and carrying out toileting procedures correctly, for example flushing toilets, wiping correctly, and washing hands. Providers need to ensure sanitary conditions are maintained by supplying enough toilet paper and paper towels for children, making sure no urine is left on toilet seats or floors, and paper towels thrown away.

With any area of child care, adequate supervision protects children from physical and emotional harm. When children are within sight and hearing, teachers are able to quickly stop teasing, bullying, and inappropriate behaviors.

The youngest children (toddlers and young preschoolers) will often need more assistance and closer supervision. Developmentally, toddlers and preschoolers are not ready to be left in the bathroom alone as they are more impulsive and do not have good judgment to avoid risks. Providers should be stationed by the bathroom door to provide guidance to younger children.

The amount of supervision provided to older preschool children (around 5 years of age to Kindergarten) will depend on the child. Some 5 year olds need more guidance than others. Once a child has shown the ability to properly use the bathroom facilities and understand the rules, they can be provided more privacy. However, these children still need to be checked on frequently and be within close hearing range. If toileting areas are not within the classroom, a teacher should accompany children to the restroom.

School-age children may be ready to use the bathroom alone. Again, this will depend on the abilities of the child and ensuring they understand the rules. Teachers should still stay near the bathroom and check on them frequently to ensure inappropriate behaviors do not occur. Teachers can make it clear privacy is respected, but if there is an issue the teacher will enter the bathroom area. It is important to make sure children do not lock the bathroom doors, in case there is an emergency.

For infants, toddlers, and preschoolers direct supervision by sight and hearing should be used at all times, whether it’s during outdoor gross motor, nap, meals, indoor play, or toileting. For school-age children, teachers/ providers should keep them within sight or hearing at all times.

Resources:

All About ECERS-R, p. 116-120

Caring For Our Children, Standard 2.2.0.1: Methods of Supervision of Children

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner is an Early Childhood Coordinator with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach. Melissa has over 10 years of experience with the Environment Rating Scales as an assessor for research projects and Iowa's Quality Rating System and now as the ERS Training project coordinator. Melissa loves hearing success stories about providers who have made great strides to improve the quality of care within their program. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, camping, and house projects.

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FCCERS-R and Fire Inspections

“How do I get a fire inspection?”  “Who can I talk to about getting a fire inspection for my home?”  These are common questions we hear from family child care home providers.  FCCERS-R item 12, Safety Practices, indicator 5.3 can raise anxiety with providers, and, unfortunately in Iowa there is no clear answer for them.

Licensed center-based programs in Iowa must receive annual inspections by a state fire marshal. Iowa Child Development Home Registration guidelines state the need for posting emergency plans, practicing fire and tornado drills, and providing a safety barrier around any heating stove or heating element to prevent burns. Official fire inspections in child development homes are not required and are rare, thus   indicator 5.3 in safety practices is often scored as a “no” on FCCERS-R score sheets.

fire extinguisher_bing imageEach town, county, rural district and fire department has their own policies regarding when and if fire inspections will be completed.  Barriers providers have come across when asking for a fire inspection include: inspections provided only within city limits, department is made up of volunteer fire fighters and lacks the resources, inspections are only completed in larger businesses or businesses open to the public, and cost ($150).

One provider was able to receive a fire inspection through her insurance company. This is great, but we want to ensure all child development home inspections across Iowa are similar. Since there isn’t an official form for child development home fire inspections in Iowa, see North Carolina’s Child Care Fire Inspection report form as a guide. We would want to see similar criteria met in a fire inspection for Iowa child development homes.

Because a fire inspection would be an easy “yes” on the score sheet, many providers tend to focus heavily on it.  However, it’s more important that they focus on the “big picture.”  Some thoughts to keep in mind:

  • Many providers who receive an overall score of 5.0 or higher do not have a fire inspection, and may have received a score of 4 or below in Safety practices.
  • If a provider meets all other 5 indicators but not 5.3, (fire inspection) they would still receive a 4 in Safety Practices.
  • In order to get through the Level 5 indicators, they would need a “yes” on 3.1 (No more than 3 safety hazards) and a “yes” on 5.1 (No safety hazards).   These indicators are commonly marked “no,” even in high-scoring programs due to safety hazards such as lack of playground surfacing, a changing table without the 6” barrier, no fence surrounding outdoor areas, and choking hazards accessible to children under the age of 3 years.

State Fire Marshal’s Office http://www.dps.state.ia.us/fm/

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Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner is an Early Childhood Coordinator with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach. Melissa has over 10 years of experience with the Environment Rating Scales as an assessor for research projects and Iowa's Quality Rating System and now as the ERS Training project coordinator. Melissa loves hearing success stories about providers who have made great strides to improve the quality of care within their program. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, camping, and house projects.

More Posts - Website

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