I don’t transport kids. I’ve never put a day care kid in my car. The parents I work for were specifically looking for a provider that does not transport children when they began their child care search.
There’s a thread on daycare.com about parents refusing to sign the permission slip for transportation. http://www.daycare.com/forum
I know there are many types of agreements between parents and providers when it comes to having children in the provider’s vehicle. There are parents who want it for their kids and many who pay providers to transport their child to and from school and preschool. Some providers transport their own children to school and have field trips as a major selling point of their business. I’ve never offered either one of these services because I don’t want the responsibility of driving infants and children and the work it takes to make school timelines, loading and unloading kids onsite to get little ones in the building, or the waiting in line at the schools for your spot or turn at the driveway. I don’t want to deal with children in the car who are just along for the ride and have no choice but to drive around while other kids are being taken to and from school.
I think one of the common problems with transporting is that some providers are using car trips to get their personal business or their own kids business done on the clock. There is also a segment of the day care provider population that do “buckled in” care. They spend a lot of the kids waking hours having them buckled in a car seat because it’s easier than having them up and running at home. Getting them loaded up is a ton of work, especially in the winter, but once loaded they are easier to deal with.
I’ve visited with many parents looking for care who are having this problem. When they sign on they are presented with the provider stating they will do “little errands”. As time goes on they realize that it’s frequent if not daily. They start to put it together and realize that the peek awake times of the day (nine a.m. to lunch and three p.m. to departure) the provider is driving around. The morning hours, after all the kids have arrived, are the most common time for the provider to want to do car trips. They don’t run the risk of having parents wanting to pick their kids up during this time so it rarely conflicts with the parents schedules.
Once the parents figure out that their baby is going from morning nap to car seat… to high chair for lunch… to play pen for nap… to car seat to home they believe the provider is doing “confined” care. They start to do the math and realize there isn’t much time left in the day for the kids to be up playing and doing activities.
When the parents start to question the provider, she tells them she is going stir crazy and can’t be cooped up in the house all the time. She often cites the kid centered trips she has taken and states how good it is for the kids to go to the park or zoo. She tells them it’s good for them to go to Super Mart or the grocery store. It’s supposed to be special for the kids. Why would the parent think otherwise?
Parents are concerned about whether the provider has the proper drivers license and insurance to cover their child in their car. Depending on what state you live in they could be required to have a chauffeurs license and business car insurance. A regular license and car insurance my not cover their kids when they are being transported while the provider is being hired to care for them and the school bound children.
The parents are also VERY concerned about texting and driving. The only way they would know if their provider was doing that would be if they had a kid old enough to tell. Other than that, they only have the providers promise that she would never do it. A provider out running around with kids… doing it on the sly.. doing it way more than what she originally agreed to.. is going to answer texts from parents right away. She always has the notion in her head that they could show up at her front door at any time and have her gone without the parents knowing THAT day was a day they would be out and running.
Once the parent gets a whiff that it really is every day they start being more specific with the provider about knowing EXACTLY when the provider put the kid in the car. They start asking the provider to text them or let them know before they leave with the kid and when they return. If the parents find out the provider has left with the kid without telling them in advance and get the “oh I forgot to tell you” a couple of times then they begin to wonder about all the OTHER times the provider forgot.
The provider realizes now she is sunk. Just asking to “let us know” means the parents will know every day how much she is doing it. She prefers there to just be an understanding that she CAN do “little errands“. Once she has to notify them she is leaving and when she comes back she really can’t fake it anymore.
In truth these providers want to get their family and day care running around done with the kids so they don’t have to do it in the evening or on the weekend. They take their own kids to the pool, amusement park, or to friends houses. They even take the day care kids to doctors appointments for themselves or their own kids and expose the well day care kids to a building and rooms of sick people.
When the parent starts questioning it the provider most often terminates the family. If the provider has been coping with the job by confined care she is NOT going to give that up for one family. She is going to be resentful of one family netting her a bunch of stuff to do on her time off and prohibiting her from doing special for her own kids.
You would be surprised how much this happens. There are a lot of providers doing care who really hate it but have no other real way to make money from home and not pay for day care for their own kids. The “little errands” trick is a way to have an easier time with the care of the kids, gives her something TO DO, and to do all their personal stuff on the parents clock.
If you take children on outings and transport for school runs it is always best to tell the parent in advance that you are going. Even if it’s a trip to the grocery store or bank they need to know. Having open ended consent forms where the parent gives you a blanket release to transport may not satisfy the parent or the regulations. In my state you must have a permission slip signed for the date, time, destination, and what adults will be attending for EVERY trip out of the house. Most parents don’t know the state regulations so they are unaware that the provider should be getting a signed consent daily for any time off site.
If you are driving around to get your own stuff done and kill time you are eventually going to be found out. The parents will figure it out over time and you will have a lot of turnover and unexpected terminations over it. You will also run into parents who agree to it upfront but after seeing how it works, change their minds and start limiting it. As their child grows they know how well the child does in the car. If their kid is fussy in the car they aren’t going to assume that they are any different when you have them.
Remember too that motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of serious injury and death to children under the age of five. Drive carefully. Have car seats that meet current regulations and are installed properly and fixed. Drive when you need to drive only and don’t text or use the phone while driving.