For many parents, finding safe, reliable and affordable child care is the hardest job they will ever face. Without it, many parents can't focus on their work, or they may not be able to work at all.
The Better Business Bureau has nine tips that can help you search, with suggestions on questions to ask and things to check as your interview providers. Today's release includes tips and a link to local resources.
St. Louis, Mo., July 26, 2012 – With summer camps ending and
school starting soon, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises parents to take plenty of time to find safe, reliable child care that suits their children and schedules.
“Working parents need to know that their children are safe and secure so they can give their full attention to their jobs,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB president and CEO. “Finding good day care can be time-consuming, but the BBB has tips that can make the job a little easier.”
Parents need to determine first what kind of care they need: Full or part-time, in-home or facility-based. Consider the location in relation to your home and work, the hours, cost and educational opportunities for the children.
Recommendations from family or friends can be helpful, and government agencies or industry organizations also can be a source of information. United 4 Children provides information on child care resources in the St. Louis area.
However, it is up to parents to find care that is appropriate for their children.
Parents need to take time to visit facilities, ask about the staff’s training and experience, and find out how the center handles medical emergencies. Children may be spending a large part of their waking hours in a day care setting, so it’s important to find out what kinds of education or stimulation may be offered to help your child develop.
The BBB has the following tips for parents seeking quality child care:
- Visit several facilities or caregivers, and find out how staff are selected and what their credentials are. What is the staff-to-child ratio? How are children grouped, such as by age or stage of development?
- Ask whether the facility is licensed by the state or local community and whether it carries appropriate liability insurance.
- Ask about safety procedures and how an accident might be handled. What will
happen if your child is hurt or becomes ill while at the center? Will you be called or notified before you arrive to pick up your child?
- Ask about fees and payment deadlines. Is a deposit required, and is it
refundable? Are fees charged if a parent is late picking up a child? Are there
extra charges for any activities? Are meals and transportation offered? Is
financial assistance available?
- Ask about the balance between structured and unstructured activities. What
happens during naptime? How are babies put down for naps, and how often are they
checked when sleeping? What if your child can’t go to sleep?
- Make sure the center or day care home is clean, with enough space for
children to play and adequate safety equipment.
- Call at least three parents whose children are enrolled in the program to
discuss their experiences.
- Ask if your child can spend part of the day in the day care center or home
before you enroll. Discuss the experience with the caregiver or center
- Be alert to your child’s reaction and behavior. Allow plenty of time for adjustment, especially in the first day or first week at the center. Call or visit the facility once your child is enrolled to find out how the child is doing and to establish rapport with the staff.
Check a child care enter’s BBB Business Review by calling 314-645-3300 or visit www.bbb.org.
The BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Reviews on more than 4 million
companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution service, alerts and
educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Please visit
www.bbb.org for more information, follow the BBB on Facebook or follow Jerri Stroud @stlbbbeditor on Twitter.