Recommended Practices for Operating
Safe & Healthy Programs


(Para recursos en español, presione aquí)

Program Qualifications
  • Licensing:  Comply with applicable requirements for licensing, registration, criminal background checks and training. Consider displaying your licensing paperwork prominently.
  • Compliance:  Ensure your program complies with applicable requirements for operating a child care program, including those concerning the promotion of the health and safety of children in your care; compliance with any required adult-to-child ratios; and security governing visitors.
  • Qualifications:  Consider obtaining accreditation from the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) and/or a Family Child Care Child Development Associate (CDA) credential awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition.  
  • Professional Development and Support: Participate in professional development training and/or work with an educational coach who can help you grow as an educator.
  • Ethics: Read and sign the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Code of Ethical Conduct and Statement of Commitment (available in English and Spanish).
  • Ratio of Adults to Children: Ensure your program meets state and city standards. 
  • Daily Schedule:  Prepare a daily schedule describing what children do in your program. 
  • Supervision of Children:  Ensure that children are supervised at all times, both inside and outside. 
  • Child Observation: Observe children on a regular basis, take notes and use your observations to create individualized plans for the children.  Create and maintain child observation reports and plans/curricula based on your observations.
  • Nap Time, Sleep and Rest: Adhere to safe sleep guidance, including observing children while they are sleeping.
  • Food and Nutrition: Ensure your practices concerning food and meal service comply with applicable laws. Ensure that food is healthy, appetizing, and nutritious for children. Consider serving meals in a group setting, with children and teacher(s) sitting together.
Health and Safety 
  • Home Security: Ensure you and all family members and visitors follow state and city regulations.  
  • Emergency Procedures: Prepare safety and emergency procedures and post them in a visible location at your facility. Practice emergency procedures with children and staff.  Relevant policies and procedures to consider include those concerning:
    • Air pollution
    • Emergency alerts
    • Evacuation of building for fire, gas, other
    • Lockdowns
    • Utility failures
    • Weather conditions
  • Handbook Topics:  If you don’t already have a handbook covering the following health and safety topics, consider including in your handbook provisions regarding:
    • Up-to-date physicals (children and adults)
    • Insurance information
    • Emergency contact information
    • Individual health care plans
    • Immunizations/medical exemptions from immunizations
    • Annual flu vaccine
    • Illness and exclusion policy for children and staff
    • Masks
    • Accidents and medical emergencies
    • Medication administration and storage
    • Visitor policy
    • Handwashing procedure (post prominently)
    • Diapering (post prominently)
    • Walks, trips, and transportation
    • Universal precautions
  • Checklists:  Prepare a checklist for health and safety and a checklist for hazards that can be used on a daily basis.
  • Policies and Procedures:  Develop written policies and procedures and update them as necessary.  Ask parents to acknowledge their responsibilities by signing a document confirming that they have read and understand the policies and procedures.
  • Handbook:  Prepare a written child care program handbook and update it as necessary (see below for additional details on health and safety topics).
Tips for Responding to Questions from Parents About Your Health & Safety Practices
  • Be as open and transparent as possible with parents about your program policies and procedures. 
  • Discuss the nature of your education program and your philosophy/approach.
  • Let families know that you share their goal of supporting their child.
Program Qualifications 
  • Describe the requirements you and your staff have satisfied, including the application process and any reference checks, background checks and training.
  • If you have the CDA credential or are NAFCC accredited, make sure parents are aware of what these credentials mean and what you did to obtain them.
  • Describe what you do to comply with applicable standards, including those concerning the health and safety of children in your care; compliance with any required adult-to-child ratios; and security governing visitors.
  • If you receive training and/or work with an educational coach, explain what you are doing and why.   
  • Disclose to the parents the ratio of children to adults in your program.  If you have more adults than required, share this information with parents.  
  • Describe what children do and learn in your program.  If you have a daily schedule, share it with parents and/or post it visibly in your facility.
  • Describe your plan for supervising children inside and outside, including whether they are always in eyesight and whether children of different ages are supported developmentally while being supervised.
  • Share with the parents your observation practices, what you have observed about their child’s growth as well as any concerns you may have. Consider sharing any curricula, child observation reports and individualized learning plans you have prepared.
  • Explain your plan for how and when children rest and sleep in your program. 
  • Describe your practices regarding food and how meals are handled and explain the thinking behind your practices (i.e., to the extent applicable, you might say mealtimes are used to build a strong sense of community; to nurture healthy relationships with others and to food; to learn self-help skills; and to develop conversational skills).
Health and Safety 
  • Explain how you keep your program secured relative to individuals other than you and your staff, including by addressing whether other people live in your home and what your visitation guidelines are.
  • Describe what you do to maintain a healthy and safe environment, inside and outside, for children and adults, including how children participate (i.e., children put away materials, wash hands, and are part of discussions about ways to keep safe, both indoors and outdoors).
  • Share your emergency procedures with parents and explain on a regular basis what you do to practice and comply with them.
  • Discuss with your families the important health and safety topics covered by your handbook.
  • Describe the practices you perform to maintain a safe and healthy environment, including, to the extent applicable:
    • Conducting daily health checks
    • Enforcing the illness and exclusion policy for children and staff
    • Checking items on health and safety and hazards checklists
    • Completing incident/injury report forms
    • Following handwashing procedures
    • Following diapering protocol
    • Maintaining cleaning records
  • Share your written policies and procedures with the parents.

Terms Of Use

You know the families you interact with better than anyone, and you know how best to respond to any safety concerns at your facility.  We hope the suggestions in this document are useful to you in complying with recommended practices to create a safe and healthy child care program and in considering what you might say in the event that you are approached by a parent concerned about health and safety.  Of course, following recommended practices does not guarantee safety or health.  

In no event shall All Our Kin or any of its employees, officers, directors, volunteers, or other agents be liable for any losses (including direct, indirect, incidental, special, exemplary, punitive or consequential damages) arising from your reliance on the foregoing or use of the All Our Kin website. By using All Our Kin’s website, you hereby agree to the foregoing, acknowledge that use of the website does not create any employer-employee, affiliate, or agency relationship with All Our Kin and agree to refrain from representing yourself or your business as an affiliate, agent or other legal relation of All Our Kin.