Georgia Georgia

Licensing Standards for DayCare Centers


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Section 290-2-2-.12
Physical Environment and Equipment

A person planning the construction of a new center or any  

structural changes to an existing center shall obtain the following  

approvals and submit evidence of the same to the department: 

 

(a) Required Approvals. The center shall be approved by the local zoning,  

authority, 

 

(b) The center plans shall be approved prior to construction or renovation  

by: 

 

1. The appropriate fire marshal or state inspector, 

 

2. The local building official, and 

 

3. The department. 

 

(c) All water sources, if other than an approved city or county system,  

shall be approved by the proper authority having jurisdiction. 

 

(d) In all new centers, all sewage disposal systems, if other than an  

approved city or county system, shall be approved by the local county  

health department and specify the number of persons the system is  

approved to serve. 

 

(e) The center shall submit proof if a compliance with applicable laws and  

regulations issued by the state fire marshal, the proper local fire marshal  

or state inspector, including a certificate of occupancy if required prior to  

receiving any children for care. 

 

(f) Physical Plant Requirements. The following spaces shall not be 

used as activity areas for children: 

 

1. Basement areas in excess of twenty-five (25) linear feet from a 

window; 

 

2. Rooms with floor levels lower than three (3) feet or more below 

ground level on all sides; and 

 

3. Any area unapproved for use by authorities having jurisdiction. 

 

(g) The center shall be used only for the purpose of child care during the  

hours that the center is in operation. 

 

(h) Ceilings in the center shall be at least seven (7) feet in height. 

 

(i) The center and the surrounding premises shall be kept clean and free of  

debris. The center shall be: 

 

1. Maintained at a temperature range of sixty-five (65) degrees Fahrenheit  

to eighty-five (85) degrees Fahrenheit depending upon the season, 

 

2. Lighted with a minimum of twenty-five (25) foot candles of  

illumination except during scheduled nap or rest periods. Areas used for  

napping shall be lit dimly, and 

 

3. Ventilated either by mechanical or natural means to provide fresh air  

and control unpleasant odors. 

 

(j) The indoor area, i.e. the room(s) used for the play, rest and eating  

activities, shall provide thirty-five (35) square feet of usable space per  

child: 

 

1. Kitchens, bathrooms, closets, halls, storage areas or rooms, offices,  

rooms designated for staff use, other single use areas, and space occupied  

by adult size furniture shall be excluded in determining usable space. 

 

(k) Upon approval by the department, licensees or commission hold ers  

may designate two (2) specific one (1) hour periods each day when only  

twenty-five (25) square feet of space per child is provided for children  

three (3) years of age and older in their assigned rooms or areas: 

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Each additional group of twenty-five (25) children shall require one ( 1)  

additional toilet and lavatory. 

 

(i) For children being potty-trained, at least one (1) flush toilet shall be  

provided. Two (2) nursery potty chairs may be substituted for each  

subsequent required toilet. 

 

2. In lieu of the ratios set forth in subsection 1. above, school age day care  

centers shall provide at least one (1) toilet and (1) lavatory for each group  

of twenty-five (25) children. 

 

(q) When child-size fixtures are not provided, platforms or sets of steps to  

assist children who are unable to use the fixtures comfortably shall be  

available at the toilets and lavatories. 

 

(r) In centers first licensed after the effective date of the rules and centers  

that remodel or add to existing plumbing facilities, the bathroom area  

shall be fully enclosed and ventilated to the outside of the building with  

either an open screened window or functioning exhaust fan and duct  

system. Centers without fully enclosed bathrooms shall ensure that 

there is adequate ventilation to control odors and adequate sanitation  

measures to prevent the spread of contagious diseases. 

 

(s) A copy of the hand washing chart, provided by the department, use  

shall be posted above or beside each lavatory used by adults. 

 

(t) Diapers shall be changed in the child's own crib or on a diaper  

changing surface that is used for no other purposes other than changing  

clothes in each room where infants or any other children wearing diapers  

are served 

 

1. The diaper changing surface shall be: 

 

(i) Smooth, 

 

(ii) Non-porous, and 

 

(iii) Equipped with a guard or rail to prevent falls. 

 

(u) The following items shall also be provided at the diapering area:  

 

1. Soap,  

 

2. Individually dispensed, single-use hand towels, 

 

3. Single-use wash cloths, 

 

4. Covered storage container for soiled items. 

 

(v) In centers first licensed after the effective date of these rules and  

centers that renovate existing plumbing facilities, a hand washing lavatory  

with running heated water shall be located adjacent to the diapering area.   

Flush sinks shall not be used for hand washing.  Cleansing procedures in  

existing facilities shall be approved by the department. 

 

(w) Staff shall wash their hands after each diaper change they perform. 

 

(x) Individual storage spaces which are accessible to children who are not  

infants shall be provided for each child's: 

 

1. Outer garments, and   

 

2. Personal belongings.  | 

 

(y) Locked or securely fastened storage spaces or cabinets shall be used  

for the storage of supplies, seasonal toys, decorations and other excess  

equipment.  Children shall not be permitted access to these storage spaces  

or cabinets. 

 

(z) The following shall be kept in a locked area out of the reach of  

children and separate from food storage areas and used by the staff in  

such ways as to be inaccessible to the children: 

 

1. All potentially hazardous equipment, such as, but not limited to, lawn  

and garden tools, repair equipment, maintenance and cleaning equipment,  

and razors; 

 

2. Non-food related products under pressure in aerosol dispensing cans; 

 

3. Flammable materials and liquids; 

 

4. Corrosive materials;  

 

5. Cleaning supplies;  

 

6. Insecticides; 

 

7. Poisons; 

 

8. Office supplies; and 

 

9. Industrial-sized or commercial buckets with a capacity of three (3)  

gallons or more or any other similar device with rigid sides which would  

be unlikely to tip over if a toddler fell into the container head first. 

 

(aa) For centers first licensed after the effective date of these rules, the  

center shall provide or have ready access to an outdoor play area.  The  

minimum size of the outdoor area must be equal to one hundred (100)  

square feet times one-third (1/3) of the center's licensed capacity for  

children. 

 

1. At least one hundred (100) square feet shall be available for each child  

occupying the outside play area at any one time; 

 

2. Groups of children may be rotated if necessary so that one hundred  

(100) square feet per child is provided at all times; 

 

3. Outside play areas shall be adjacent to the center or in an area which  

can be reached by a safe route or method approved by the department; 

 

4. Play areas shall be protected from traffic or other hazards by a four (4)  

foot or higher secure fence or other barrier approved by the department; 

 

(i) Fencing material shall not present a hazard to children, and shall be  

maintained so as to prevent children from leaving the play area by any  

other means than through an approved access route; 

 

(ii) Fence gates shall be kept closed except when persons are entering or  

exiting the area; 

 

5. The outdoor play space shall have a surface suitable for varied  

activities; 

 

(i) Hard surfaces, such as gravel, concrete, or paving shall not exceed  

one-fourth (1/4) of the total outdoor play area; 

 

6. Outside play areas shall be kept: 

 

(i) Clean, 

 

(ii) Free from litter,   

 

(iii) Free of hazards such as, but not limited to, non-resilient surfaces  

under the fall-zone of play equipment, rocks, exposed tree roots and  

exposed sharp edges of concrete or equipment; 

 

7. Shaded areas shall be provided in the outside play areas;  

 

8. All outside play equipment shall be arranged so as not to obstruct  

supervision of children; and 

 

9. Climbing and swinging equipment shall be: 

 

(i) Anchored, and 

 

(ii) Have a resilient surface beneath the equipment and the fall-zone from  

such equipment which is adequately maintained by the center to assure  

continuing resiliency. 

 

(bb) Any outside storage or equipment area shall be locked or separated  

from the children by a barrier or be enclosed and shall not be accessible to  

the children. 

 

(cc) Sufficient parking areas shall be provided to permit safe discharge  

and pick up of children. 

 

(dd) The center shall provide outside lighting at entrances and exits used  

by children when the center provides evening or night time care. 

 

(ee) General Requirements. All equipment shall be used only by the age  

appropriate group of children and shall be: 

 

1. Free from hazardous conditions such as, but not limited to, sharp, rough  

edges or toxic paint; 

 

2. In safe operating condition; 

 

3. Placed so as to minimize danger of accident or collision; 

 

4. Placed so as to permit the children's freedom of movement; and 

 

5. Kept clean.   

 

(ff) Toys For Children Under Three.  All toys used by children less than  

three (3) years of age shall be appropriate for the age of the children using  

the toys.  These toys shall be: 

 

1. Easily cleaned; 

 

2. Non-toxic and lead-free; 

 

3. Too large to be swallowed by a child and not capable of causing  

asphyxiation or strangulation; 

 

4. Have no sharp pieces, edges or points or small parts which may be  

pried off by a child; 

 

5. Be free of rust; and 

 

6. Cleaned with a disinfectant daily. 

 

(gg) Accessibility Of Toys. A variety of age-appropriate toys and play  

materials shall be stored on low open shelves accessible to children in  

each room or assigned area.  Infants and children shall not be permitted to  

play with toys which are not designed for their particular age group or  

younger.  Projectile launchers of any sort, such as dart guns, pop guns,  

and slingshots etc. shall not be allowed at the center.  Balloons shall not  

be accessible to preschool children. 

 

(hh) Outdoor Equipment. The outdoor play equipment shall provide  an  

opportunity for the children to engage in a variety of experiences and  

shall be age-appropriate.  For example, toddlers shall not be permitted to  

swing in swings designed for school-age children.  The outdoor  

equipment shall be free of lead-based paint, sharp corners and shall be  

regularly maintained in such a way as to be free of rust and splinters that  

could pose significant safety hazard to the children. 

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(iii) Locks and latches on the dropside of the crib shall be safe and secure  

from accidental release. 

 

(iv) Crib sides shall always be up and the fastenings secured when a child  

is in the crib, except when personnel are standing at the side of the crib  

giving the child personal attention. 

 

(v) There shall be no restraining devices of any type used in the crib  

unless prescribed in writing by a physician.  Staff shall be responsible for  

using the restraints safely and in accordance with the prescription. 

 

(vi) Loose plastic materials shall not be used in cribs. 

 

(vii) Each crib shall have individual crib-size bedding, including a sheet  

and cover which is: 

 

(I) Changed daily or more often if necessary, and 

 

(II) Changed prior to a change of occupant. 

 

(viii) Before a change of occupant, each crib and mattress shall be cleaned  

with a disinfectant. 

 

2. Depending on the developmental stage of the one (1) year old child, a  

crib or playpen or mat or cot shall be available for resting or sleeping.  A  

crib shall not be used with an infant who has learned how to climb out of  

the crib. 

 

(i) Playpens shall have a two inch (2") mat. 

(ii) Playpens shall be stored outside of children's activity room or area  

when the children are not napping or resting. 

                 

3. A cot or mat shall be available for each child who is two (2) years or  

older who is required to take a nap. 

 

(i) Cots and mats, if stored in the children's activity room or area, shall be  

arranged so as to: 

 

(I) Prevent children's access to them, and 

 

(II) Allow maximum use of play space. 

 

(ii) Mats shall be:  

 

(I) Covered with waterproof material,  

 

(II) Washable, and  

(III) At least two inches (2") thick. 

 

4. For nighttime care, each child, except infants who require individual  

cribs, shall be provided an individual: 

 

(i) Bed with four inch (4") mattress, or 

 

(ii) Cot with a two inch (2") pad. 

 

5. Sleeping and resting equipment shall be: 

 

(i) Of sound construction, 

 

(ii) Of sufficient size to accommodate comfortably the size and weight of  

the child, 

 

(iii) Marked for individual use and used by the same child daily, and 

 

(iv) Kept clean. 

 

6. Sleeping equipment shall be covered with a clean sheet or similar  

covering. 

 

(i) Sheets shall either be individually marked or laundered daily, and  

 

(ii) Individually marked sheets shall be laundered weekly, or more   

frequently as needed; 

 

7. A light weight cover shall be available for each child's use. 

 

(i) Covers shall either be individually marked or laundered daily, and  

 

(ii) Individually marked covers shall be laundered weekly, or more   

frequently as needed. 

 

8. Pillows shall not be used by children under two (2) years of age.  

 

9. When used for older children, pillows shall be: 

 

(i) Assigned for individual use, and 

 

(i1) Covered with individually marked pillow cases or covered with  cases  

that are laundered daily; and 

 

(iii) Individually marked pillow cases shall be laundered weekly, or more  

frequently as needed. 


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