Licensing Standards for DayCare Centers
PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT AND SAFETY
- A Center shall ensure that every building, or part thereof that
is used as a Center, shall be constructed, used, furnished, maintained and
equipped in compliance with all applicable requirements established by Federal,
State, local and municipal regulatory bodies.
- A. The Center shall have written certification of compliance from the appropriate
regulatory bodies governing zoning, building construction and safety, sanitation
and fire safety.
- A Center shall maintain all areas of the facility in a clean,
safe condition free from hazards to the health and safety of children.
- A Center shall ensure that all structures, fences, equipment and
grounds are maintained so as to be free from any hazard to health and safety.
- A Center shall ensure that grounds adequately drain either naturally
or through installed drainage systems.
- A Center shall ensure that garbage and rubbish are stored securely
in non-combustible, covered containers in separate areas inaccessible to children
and shall be removed on a regular basis but not less than once every week.
- A. Outdoor containers, other than dumpsters, shall be cleaned after each
- B. Indoor trash containers shall be emptied daily and kept clean.
- A Center shall ensure that trash collection receptacles are stored
in designated areas away from the children's play areas.
- A Center shall ensure that all areas accessible to the Center
and outdoor play area determined to be unsafe including steep grades, cliffs,
open pits, swimming pools, high voltage boosters, propane gas tanks, streets
or roads, driveways, railroad tracks, or parking lots, shall be fenced off
or have natural barriers to protect children.
- A Center shall maintain or have access to an outdoor play area
with at least fifty (50) square feet for each child for the maximum number
of children who will use the playground at one time.
- A. The outdoor play area shall be large enough to accommodate at least
one-fourth of the licensed capacity of the facility at any one time.
- The outdoor play area shall be situated adjacent to or within
close proximity to the Center and available to the children
- A. The play area shall be accessible by a safe route.
- A Center shall ensure that outdoor play areas located near or
adjacent to hazardous areas determined by the Department to be unsafe (including,
but not limited to, streets, roads, driveways, parking lots, railroad tracks,
swimming pools, rivers, streams, steep grades, cliffs, open pits, high voltage
boosters or propane gas tanks) shall be fenced or otherwise protected by a
natural or man-made barrier or enclosure.
- A. Fencing shall be sturdy, safe and reinforced at intervals so as
to give adequate support.
- A Center shall ensure that the surface of the outdoor play area
beneath and in the fall zones of climbing equipment, slides, swings and similar
equipment, shall be of approved resilient material which absorbs falls.
- The outdoor play area shall have equipment for vigorous play and
large muscle activity and shall be free of hazards.
- Outdoor play equipment shall be securely anchored unless portable
by design, in good repair and placed with regard for safe use.
- A. Outdoor sandboxes or play areas containing sand shall be maintained
in a safe and sanitary manner.
- B. Separate outdoor sandboxes shall be covered when not in use.
- The outdoor play area shall be situated to provide a shaded rest
area for children.
- When a Center can demonstrate that the outdoor space requirement
cannot be met, the Center shall provide, in addition to the indoor play space
required by Requirement 120, a minimum of 700 square feet of open, accessible
indoor play space suitable for large muscle activity.
ACCESS TO SPACE BY CHILDREN
- A. The indoor space may be either at the site of the Center or at a nearby
facility, such as a gymnasium or other recreational facility, accessible by
a safe route.
- B. The Center shall have a written plan which specifies how large muscle
activity will be provided.
- C. The Center shall have a written plan to ensure some opportunities for
safe outdoor activities in accordance with Requirement 247C.
- A Center shall ensure that interior space designated for the use
of children is available to children when the Center is in operation.
- A Center shall have at least thirty-five (35) square feet for
each child. Measurements shall be from wall to wall on the inside.
- A. Toilet rooms, kitchen areas, isolation areas, offices, storage spaces,
hallways, furnace rooms and other areas not used by children for sleep or
play on a routine basis shall not be counted in computing required square
- The floors of all rooms in a Center shall have a surface which
is safe and cleanable.
- A Center shall ensure that each child, except school-age children
who do not sleep at the Center, has clean, age-appropriate individual rest
equipment such as a crib, playpen, cot, bed or mat and bedding.
- A. A child's rest equipment shall be labeled with the child's name and
used only by the child while enrolled in the program.
- B. Mattresses and sleeping equipment shall be covered with non-absorbent,
- C. Cots, beds, mats and mattresses shall be cleaned and sanitized at least
bi-monthly and when soiled or wet.
- D. Crib mattresses shall be cleaned and sanitized at least weekly and when
soiled or wet.
- E. Rest equipment and bedding shall be cleaned and sanitized prior to being
assigned to another child.
- Sleeping mats shall be stored so that there is no contact with
the sleeping surface of another mat or disinfected after each use.
- A Center shall ensure that cribs are not stacked while in use.
- A. Cribs and playpens shall have slats so placed as to allow gaps of no
larger than 2-3/8 inches.
- B. Cribs and playpens shall have top rails at least nineteen (l9) inches
above the mattress with the mattress set at its lowest position and side rail
locked in its highest position.
- C. Any latches on cribs or playpens shall be safe and secured.
- A Center shall ensure that seasonably appropriate top and bottom
coverings, such as sheets and blankets, are provided for each child.
- A. Sheets and blankets or other bedding shall be cleaned at least weekly
and when soiled or wet.
- Rest equipment shall be placed at least l-l/2 feet apart while
AREA FOR CHILDREN WHO BECOME ILL
- Rest equipment shall be maintained in a safe condition.
- A Center shall have a separate area where children who are exhibiting
illnesses/symptoms requiring exclusion from the Center shall be cared for
until they can be removed from the Center or are diagnosed as posing no risk
to themselves or others.
- A. The separate area shall be furnished with rest equipment provided with
- B. This area shall not be located in the kitchen or toilet areas.
- C. All items used by an ill child, including rest equipment, bedding, utensils
and toys shall be cleaned and disinfected prior to being used by another child.
- A Center shall have enclosed toilet rooms inside the building
on the same floor as inside play area(s).
- A. Toilet rooms shall have no locks within the children's reach.
- A Center serving children over twenty-four (24) months of age
shall have at least the number of toilets and sinks as indicated by the table
No. of Children and Staff
| No. of Toilets
|| No. of Sinks
|| Maximum Ratio
| l - l5
| l6 - 35
| 36 - 60
| 6l - 80
| 8l - l00
| l0l - l25
| l26 - l50
| l5l - l75
| l76 - 200
- A. Urinals shall be counted as one-half of a toilet for the purposes of
this calculation provided that the population served includes a significant
number of males and that a minimum of two (2) flush toilets are available
and accessible to both males and females.
- B. Platforms and/or steps shall be available for use when child-size toilets
or sinks are not available.
- C. At least one (1) sink shall be in the toilet room.
- A Center serving children under twenty-four (24) months of age
shall have at least one (1) toilet and sink when fewer than twenty (20) children
are served and at least two (2) toilets and sinks when more than twenty (20)
children are served.
- A. Staff shall be counted in determining the number of toilets and sinks
if the Center does not provide separate toilet facilities for staff.
- For a Center serving a mix of children above and below twenty-four
(24) months of age the Center shall either:
- A. Meet the toilet and sink specifications of Requirement 130 based on
the total number of children being served at the Center, provided that all
toilets and sinks are utilized by children of all ages; or
- B. Determine the number of children above and below twenty-four (24) months
of age and meet the toilet and sink specifications of Requirements 130 and
131 for each age category.
- Potty chairs shall not be substituted for toilets and, if used,
shall be placed in the toilet room.
- A. Potty chairs, when used, shall be cleaned and sanitized after each use
in accordance with Requirements 138 and 139.
- Toilet rooms in a Center shall have at least one (1) openable
window or mechanical ventilation.
- A Center shall provide soap, toilet paper and single service towels
in the toilet room(s) and make them accessible to the children.
- A Center shall ensure that all surfaces in a toilet room are smooth,
cleanable and non-absorbent.
- Toilet room(s) in a Center shall be maintained in a sanitary condition
and cleaned daily or more frequently if needed.
- A Center shall ensure that areas and equipment specified in Requirements
139 and 140 are washed with soap and water and disinfected as required.
- A. The disinfectant solution shall either be a self-made solution consisting
of 1/4 cup of household bleach to each gallon of water (one (1) tablespoon
per quart), which shall be prepared daily, labeled, placed in a bottle that
is sealed with a cap and stored out of the reach of children or a commercially
prepared disinfectant which indicates it kills bacteria, viruses and parasites
and shall be used in accordance with label instructions.
- A Center shall wash and disinfect the following equipment items
or surfaces after each use:
- A. Potty chairs which have first been emptied into a toilet;
- B. Sinks and faucets used for handwashing after the sink is used for rinsing
a potty chair;
- C. Diapering surfaces, as required in Requirement 146.
- D. Toys mouthed by infants and toddlers;
- E. Mops used for cleaning;
- F. Bibs; and
- G. Thermometers.
- A Center shall wash and disinfect the following equipment items
or surfaces at least daily:
- A. Toilet and toilet seats;
- B. Sinks and faucets;
- C. Diaper pails and lids;
- D. Drinking fountains;
- E. Water table and water play equipment;
- F. Play tables;
- G. Mats that are not stored separately as specified in Requirement 123;
- H. Smooth surfaced non-porous floors.
- A Center shall ensure that staff and children wash their hands
with soap and running water and use single service towels for drying hands:
- A. Before eating or handling food;
- B. After toileting or diapering;
- C. After coming into contact with blood, fecal matter, urine, vomit, nasal
secretions or other body secretions;
- D. After handling animals or their equipment or after coming into contact
with an animal's body secretions;
- E. After caring for a child who may be sick; and
- F. After cleaning.
- A Center shall ensure that staff use disposable rubber or plastic
gloves when cleaning surfaces or equipment contaminated with blood or vomit.
- A Center shall ensure that the diapers and other clothing of children
are changed when wet or soiled.
- A. The Center shall have an established procedure for periodic checking
of diapers throughout the day.
- B. The Center shall ensure that a supply of clean diapers and extra clothing
are provided for each child.
- C. Soiled clothing shall be placed in a sealed plastic container or bag
and labeled with the child's name and returned to the child's parents at the
end of the day.
- A Center shall have a diaper changing area with a clean, washable
- A. There shall be a separate handwashing sink convenient to the changing
- B. The diaper changing area shall not be located in the kitchen area.
- C. Disposable covers for the diaper changing area shall be used for each
- Used disposable diapers shall be placed in a foot activated container
that is lined with a leakproof or impervious liner.
- A. Such diapers shall be removed from the Center daily or more frequently
if needed to prevent accumulation of odors, and placed in a closed container
that is outside the building and used for trash collection.
- B. The container shall be sanitized daily.
- A Center shall have an established procedure for changing diapers
to include at least the following steps:
- A. The Center shall ensure that caregivers use a diaper changing area in
accordance with requirement l44.
- B. The Center shall ensure that caregivers wash and dry each child during
each diaper change with an individual disposable sanitary wipe or single service
- C. The diaper changing area shall be cleaned and sanitized with a disinfectant
solution after each use in accordance with Requiremenst 138 and 139.
- D. The Center shall ensure that disposable diapers and disposable covers
are disposed of in accordance with requirement l45.
- E. The Center shall ensure that soiled non-disposable diapers shall be
placed in a sealed plastic container labeled with the child's name and returned
to the child's parents at the end of the day.
- F. A Center shall ensure that caregivers changing children's diapers shall
wash their hands and the hands of the child with soap and water immediately
after each diaper change.
- G. This procedure shall be posted in the diaper changing area.
- A kitchen used in a Center shall be provided with the necessary
operable equipment for the preparation, storage, serving and clean-up of all
meals for all of the children and staff regularly served by such kitchen.
- A. The Center shall have a hand washing sink in the food preparation area,
separate from the sink used for food preparation and dishwashing.
- Floor, walls and counter surfaces in a kitchen shall be easily
cleanable and impervious to water to the level of splash.
- Food preparation areas and appliances shall be cleaned following
each prepared meal.
- The kitchen shall have refrigeration to keep food cold (45 degrees
F. or colder).
- A. There shall be a working thermometer in all refrigerators.
- B. The Center where children eat lunches prepared at home shall provide
adequate refrigerated storage for such lunches.
- A Center shall ensure that all eating, drinking and cooking utensils
are thoroughly cleaned, rinsed and sanitized after each use and stored in
a clean place.
- A Center shall ensure that all dishes, cups and glasses used by
children in care shall be free from chips, cracks or other defects.
- A. The Center shall discard single-service napkins, bibs, dishes and utensils
- B. Washable napkins, bibs and tablecloths shall be cleaned after each use.
- A Center shall have a dishwasher or facilities capable of washing,
rinsing and sanitizing utensils at proper time, temperature and pressure.
- A. When a dishwasher is not used, dishes and utensils shall be air dried.
They shall not be dried with a towel.
- A Center shall ensure that all plastic dinnerware shall either
be single service or approved by the National Sanitation Foundation or its
- A Center shall ensure that all food in a Center shall be clean,
wholesome, free from spoilage, free from adulteration, correctly labeled and
safe for human consumption.
- Storage areas for food in a Center shall be cleanable and free
of food particles, dust and dirt.
- A. All food items shall be stored in closed or sealed containers which
- B. All food items shall be stored off the floor.
- C. Food items shall be stored separately from cleaning materials.
- Kitchen areas in a Center shall be so constructed and supervised
as to prevent access by children.
STORAGE OF PERSONAL BELONGINGS
- A Center shall store all drugs, poisons, solvents, matches and
other hazardous materials in a safe manner out of the reach of children.
DOORS AND WINDOWS
- A Center shall provide children with adequate individual storage
space for personal belongings so that clothing or bedding used by a child
does not come into contact with that used by other children.
- A Center shall provide insect screening for all outer doors and
openable windows when such doors and windows are used for ventilation, provided
that all requirements for fire safety have been met. This screening shall
be in good repair.
- Unless adequate mechanical ventilation is provided, a Center shall
have window area equal, at a minimum, to 4-l/2% of the floor area of the Center.
Half of such window area shall be openable.
- All floor or window fans in a Center that are accessible to children
shall have a grille, mesh or other protective covering that prevents a child
from tampering with the blades of the fan.
- A Center shall ensure that all closets and bathrooms are provided
with doors that can be readily opened from both sides.
- A Center shall ensure that all heating equipment is safely and
appropriately shielded to prevent the injury of children.
- A Center shall take all reasonable precautions to ensure that
heating elements including hot water pipes and radiators are insulated and
installed in a manner that ensures the safety of children.
- Room temperatures in rooms used by the children shall be maintained
at a minimum temperature of 65 degrees F. at floor level when the outside
temperature is l degree F. unless there is conflict with Federal and State
- A Center shall provide at least twenty (20) foot candles of natural
or artificial light in all child care areas.
WATER AND SEWAGE
- A Center shall ensure that parking areas, pedestrian walkways,
or other exterior portions of the premises subject to use by occupants at
night shall be illuminated.
- The temperature level of the water from all water taps accessible
to children in care in a Center shall not exceed l20 degrees F.
- The water supply and the sewage disposal in a Center shall be
approved by the Division of Public Health and the Department of Natural Resources
and Environmental Control, respectively.
FINISHES AND SURFACES
- A. All sinks in the kitchen and toilet rooms shall be designed to supply
adequate hot and cold water, under pressure, at all times to meet the needs
of children in care.
- B. The Center shall ensure that drinking water is always available to children.
- C. All plumbing shall comply with the State or local plumbing code.
- A Center shall not utilize any excessively rough surface or finish
where such surface or finish may present a hazard to children in care.
- A Center shall not have walls or ceilings surfaced with materials
- A Center shall not use lead paint for any purpose within the Center
or on the exterior or grounds of the Center, nor shall the Center purchase
any equipment, furnishings or decoration surfaced with lead paint.
- A. Where appropriate the Center shall maintain evidence that the Center
has been tested for and found to be free of lead paint hazards.
- A Center shall have a written evacuation plan of the Center posted
in each room the children use.
- A. Monthly evacuation drills shall be held and documented. The record shall
include the date and time of day of the drill, the number of children and
staff members who participated, and the total amount of time necessary to
evacuate the Center.
- A Center shall prohibit smoking in areas used by the children
and in food preparation areas.
- A Center shall ensure that any pets kept by or located in the
Center are certified by a licensed veterinarian as not being carriers of illness
that would be a hazard to children, are free from disease and vaccinated as
prescribed by law or as recommended by a licensed veterinarian.
FIRST AID KITS
- A. Animals in the Center shall be housed in protected containers and away
from food preparation, storage and serving areas and toilet facilities for
children and staff.
- B. Animals shall be handled by children only under close staff supervision.
- C. Animals shall be cared for in a safe and sanitary manner.
- A Center shall have, in locations readily accessible to staff,
but not to children, first aid kits containing, but not limited to soap, an
assortment of adhesive bandages, sterile gauze pads, tweezers, tape and scissors.
- A. A first aid manual shall be maintained at the Center and shall be readily
available for use.
- B. A first aid kit shall be taken along with children when they are on
field trips and other group visits outside the Center.
- A Center shall have a working, listed telephone.
- A. In order to ensure the accessibility of the Center to emergency calls
from parents, the Center shall ensure that access to the telephone is limited
to business calls and that the telephone is not taken off the hook during
- The Center shall post the following emergency telephone numbers
by a telephone accessible to all staff:
- A. Ambulance service or emergency medical services;
- B. Police Department;
- C. Fire Department;
- D. Poison Control Center;
- E. Child Abuse Reporting Number.
- The Center shall keep the following telephone numbers in a place
accessible to the telephone and to all staff;
GENERAL SAFETY PRACTICES
- A. Numbers at which parents can be reached;
- B. Numbers of the physicians designated by parents;
- C. Number of the local County Health Officer of the Division of Public
- All containers of poisonous and toxic materials kept in a Center
shall be prominently and distinctly marked or labeled for easy identification
as to contents and shall be used only in such manner and under such conditions
as will not contaminate food or constitute a hazard to the children in care
or to staff.
- A. The storage of flammable liquids and gases shall not be permitted in
the Center except as allowed by the Office of the Fire Marshal.
- B. All poisonous or toxic materials except materials required for routine
cleaning and maintenance are to be locked in secure storage spaces and accessible
only to authorized staff.
- C. Materials required for routine cleaning and maintenance shall be stored
and used in a safe manner.
- Porches, elevated walkways and elevated play areas in a Center,
of more than two (2) feet in height shall have barriers to prevent falls.
- Every exit, exit access and exit discharge in a Center shall be
continuously maintained free of obstruction.
- A. Glass doors and windows at child height shall be marked for safety.
- A Center shall utilize approved products and procedures to ensure
that the Center is protected from insect infestation.
- All buildings used by a Center shall be rodent free.
- Children in care of a Center shall not swim in areas posted as
being unsafe. A certified individual shall be on duty when the children in
care are swimming. A certified individual is one who has a current water safety
instructor certificate or senior lifesaving certificate from the American
Red Cross or its equivalent.
- A. On-grounds pools shall comply with the Division of Public Health requirements
concerning swimming and wading pools.
- Stairways, inside and outside, over four (4) steps, shall have
railings. Approved safety gates at stairways shall be provided if infants
and toddlers are in care.
- A Center shall have child-proof receptacle covers for all electrical
outlets not in use and accessible to children.
- A Center which provides transportation for children shall ensure
that the vehicle and operator of a vehicle used to transport children are
in compliance with all applicable State and local laws.
- A. The driver shall not transport more persons, including children and
adults, than the capacity of the vehicle.
- A Center shall inform parents of the Center's transportation policy
and obtain written permission from the parent(s) for any transportation provided
by the Center. This permission shall specify any special need or problem of
the child which might require special attention during transportation. The
operator or attendant of the vehicle shall be given a copy of this information
with directions on handling any special need or problem.
- A Center shall ensure that a first aid kit shall be in all vehicles
regularly transporting children.
- A Center shall ensure that all doors on vehicles are locked whenever
the vehicle is in motion.
- A Center shall ensure that children shall never be left unattended
in a vehicle used by the Center to transport children.
- A Center shall not transport children in the open back of a truck.
- A Center shall ensure that children are loaded and unloaded at
the curbside of the vehicle or in a protected parking area or driveway.
- A vehicle used to transport children shall have an operable heater
capable of maintaining a temperature of 50 degrees F. in the vehicle.
- A Center shall ensure that each vehicle used to transport children
is equipped with an operable dry chemical fire extinguisher approved by the