I am not a pro at this by any means, but I got the help of a childcare pro, my friend Lauren, when we set out to chose a daycare. Lauren has many years experience in daycares and now teaches Pre-K.
Choosing a daycare can be really intimidating, but we felt fully prepared because we were armed with great questions and knew what to look for. Most new parents, like us, have no clue how to go about choosing a daycare, so I wanted to pass this information along to you…
Things to look for:
Were you able to just walk into the center or do they have security? The centers will most likely have a code system for parents getting in or something of that nature. Was it being utilized?
When you go into the infant room, were the teachers interacting with the babies or were the babies laying somewhere alone? If they’re in the crib sleeping, obviously that’s one thing, but if they’re awake they should be receiving some type of human interaction.
Are there baby swings in the room? Some schools don’t allow them because it’s not good for babies to be in them for long periods of time.
The ratio for infants is 1 to 4 (at least it is in FL anyway), so check to make sure that is being enforced.
Obviously there are safety regulations that they’re required to abide by but are they keeping up with them when licensing is not there? For instance, child proof locks on doors, cabinets, outlets, etc. All cleaning materials should be put up out of reach, etc.
Things to ask:
Do they allow you to bring in pumped breast milk (if that’s what you decide to do)? Do they wash the bottles or do they send them home to be washed?
Do you provide your own bedding for the crib? Bibs? Burp cloths? How often do they send sheets/blankets/bibs/burpers home to be washed?
Do they go off of the baby’s feeding/sleeping/wake time schedule or do they try to adapt her schedule to what suits their needs?
How much tummy time are the babies given each day?
What is their sickness policy? (for example, ours is they cannot return until they’ve been fever-free for 24 hours, 24 hours since the last time they vomited, etc.)
What is their pick-up policy in terms of if someone else needs to pick up the baby one day? (for example, some schools allow children to be picked up at anytime by anyone listed on the emergency form. Anyone not listed on the form may not pick up unless we have been notified ahead of time by the parent or we reach them by phone. We must always see identification as well.)
Some sates/counties require that there be a dedicated play area for the infants to be brought outside. Do they have this and how often do they take the babies outside?
Do they lie the babies on their backs to go to sleep? (Notice: If there are infants sleeping in the cribs, are they on their backs?) Will they allow you to send a “sleep positioner” for them to keep in the baby’s crib?
How often do they clean/sanitize teething toys? (Notice: If there are babies playing with them, are the teachers allowing the babies to pass them back and forth?)
Are the teachers in the room required to be certified in CPR and First Aid? Licensing requires there to be at least one person in the building who is certified. (Some schools, require all of the teachers to be certified in both.)
How do they let you know about your baby’s day? Some schools fill out a daily report sheet letting the parents know about her wet and dirty diapers, what time she ate, when she slept and for how long, her overall mood for the day, etc.
What is their policy on dispensing medication like Tylenol if she is teething, for example? Will they apply diaper cream when needed? Will they apply sun block when they take the babies outside?
Things you can ask about the teachers in the room:
How long have they worked at the center? How long have they worked in the infant room?
What is their training/education/experience?
Things to consider as the baby gets older:
How long will she stay in the infant room before she moves to the toddler room?
Do they provide lunches/snacks as she starts to eat solid food?
What is the schedule?
Choosing A Pediatrician
We recently met with Taylor’s future Pediatrician too. We were given a referral to this Pediatric group by our friends and the daycare. We weren’t nearly as prepared with questions and things to look for like we were for the daycares, so here is a helpful link that I found that will help you when choosing a doctor for your newborn. http://www.babycenter.com/0_choosing-a-doctor-for-your-baby_320.bc
Hope this is helpful for any of you new parents out there!