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Section 407.370
Physical Plant / Indoor Space

a) Buildings used for day care center programs must comply with all applicable fire safety standards.

  1. The building housing a center shall be approved prior to occupancy and license renewal by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Office of the State Fire Marshal or local agencies authorized by those State agencies to conduct inspections on their behalf. Otherwise, inspection and approval shall be in accordance with the regulations of the proper health and fire authorities.

  2. Day care centers that provide day care only for school-age children in a building currently being used as a pre-primary, primary, or secondary school do not need to obtain the fire clearance in subsection (a)(1) above if the day care center provides written documentation that a fire safety clearance has been received from the responsible party of the Illinois State Board of Education and/or the Regional School Superintendent and that all exit doors for the school remain unlocked. An acceptable fire safety clearance from the Illinois State Board of Education must be in writing and must indicate that the school complies with the applicable fire safety regulations adopted by the Illinois State Board of Education (23 Ill. Adm. Code 180).

b) The building or portion of the building to which children from the center have access shall be used only for a program of child care during the hours that the center is in operation. The space used for child care may be shared by other groups or persons outside of the hours of operation.

c) Infants and toddlers shall be housed and cared for at ground level unless otherwise approved through the exception process below. Travel distance between any point in a room used for infants and toddlers and an exit discharging directly outside shall not exceed 150 feet. Only a fire inspector from the Office of the State Fire Marshal or the Chicago Fire Department's Fire Prevention Bureau may grant an exception to the requirement that infants and toddlers be housed and cared for at ground level.

d) There shall be sufficient indoor space to conduct the program.

  1. There shall be a minimum of 35 square feet of activity area per child in centers for children two years of age and older. This space is exclusive of exit passages and fire escapes, which must be clear. This space is also exclusive of administrative space, storage areas, bathrooms, kitchen, space required for equipment that is not used for direct activities with children, and gymnasiums or other areas used exclusively for large muscle activity or active sports.

  2. The amount of space required for infants and toddlers shall be determined according to the use of the space for sleep and play purposes.

    a) Regardless of whether infants play and sleep in the same room or in two separate rooms, there shall be a minimum of 25 square feet of play space per child plus a minimum of 30 square feet of sleeping space per child, with at least two feet between each crib and the next crib.

    b) When toddlers play and sleep in the same room using cots which can be stacked, there shall be 35 square feet of space per child. When children are in their cots, there must be a minimum of two feet between the cots.

    c) When toddlers play and sleep in the same room using cribs, there shall be a minimum of 55 square feet per child. When children are in their cribs, there must be a minimum of two feet between the cribs.

    d) When toddlers play and sleep in separate rooms, there shall be minimum of 35 square feet of play space per child and a minimum of 30 square feet of sleeping space per child, with at least two feet between each cot or crib.

  3. Storage space shall be provided for cots, bedding, and other equipment.

  4. One room, no matter how large, shall accommodate only one group, except that room dividers or program equipment at least 3'6" in height may be used to define and separate the space for each group of children up to age five. Gymnasiums and similar sized areas may accommodate two groups, without dividers, when used for large muscle activity and active sports.

  5. All rooms or spaces accommodating more than one group shall be provided with an acoustical ceiling or its equivalent in carpeting or wall covering. If carpeting is used to control noise, it shall not be required in water play, painting, and similar areas.

e) Indoor space shall provide a safe, comfortable environment for the children.

  1. Adjustable window shades, drapes, or blinds shall be provided in all rooms where children rest or nap or in rooms that receive direct sunlight while children are present.

  2. The floors and floor coverings shall be washable and free from drafts, splinters, and dampness.

  3. Toxic or lead paints or finishes shall not be used on walls, window sills, beds, toys or any other equipment, materials or furnishings which may be used by children or within their reach. Peeling or damaged paint or plaster shall be repaired promptly to protect children from possible hazards.

  4. Any thermal hazards (radiators, hot water pipes, steam pipes, heaters) in the space occupied by children shall be out of the reach of children or be separated from the space by partitions, screens, or other means.

  5. Sharp scissors, plastic bags, knives, cigarettes, matches, lighters, flammable liquids, drugs, sharp instruments, power tools, cleaning supplies and any other such items which might be harmful to children shall be kept in areas inaccessible to children. Hazardous items for infants and toddlers also include coins, balloons, safety pins, marbles, Styrofoam8 and similar products, and sponge, rubber or soft plastic toys.

  6. All cleaning compounds, pesticides, fertilizers and other potentially hazardous or explosive compounds or agents shall be stored in original containers with legible labels in a locked area which is inaccessible to children.

  7. A draft-free temperature of 65EF to 75EF shall be maintained during the winter months or heating season. For infants and toddlers, a temperature of 68EF to 82EF shall be maintained during the summer or air-conditioning months. When the temperature in the center exceeds 78EF, measures shall be taken to cool the children. Temperatures shall be measured at least three feet above the floor.

  8. If electric fans are used to control temperature, measures shall be taken to assure the safety of the children in the group:

    a) Stationary fans shall be mounted on the walls (at least five feet above the floor) or on the ceiling.

    b) When portable fans on stands are used, they shall be anchored to prevent tipping.

    c) All portable fans shall have blade guard openings of less than 2 inch and shall be inaccessible to children.

  9. Exits shall be kept unlocked and clear of equipment and debris at all times.

  10. Electrical outlets within the reach of children shall be covered.

  11. The program shall be modified, as needed, when there are adverse conditions caused by weather, heating or cooling difficulties or other problems. When such conditions exceed a 24-hour period, the Department shall be notified regarding program modifications.

f) Drills for possible emergency situations including fire and tornado shall be conducted.

  1. A floor plan shall be posted in every room indicating the following:

    A) The building areas that will provide the most structural stability in case of tornado; and

    B) The primary and secondary exit routes in case of fire.

  2. Drills shall be conducted once a month for fire, and twice a year (seasonally) for tornado.

  3. Records shall be maintained of the dates and times that fire and tornado drills are conducted.

g) All areas of the center shall receive sufficient light.

  1. Areas for reading, painting, puzzles or other close work shall be illuminated to at least 50 to 100 foot candles on the work surface.

  2. Areas for general play, such as housekeeping and block building, shall be illuminated to at least 30 to 50 foot candles on the surface.

  3. Stairways, walkways, landings, driveways and entrances shall be illuminated to at least 20 foot candles on the surface.

h) A safe and sanitary water supply shall be maintained. If a private water supply is used instead of a public water supply, the center shall supply written records of current test results indicating that the water supply is safe for drinking in accordance with the standards specified for non-community water supplies in the Drinking Water Systems Code (77 Ill. Adm. Code 900). New test results must be provided prior to relicensing. If nitrate content exceeds ten parts per million, bottled water must be used for infants.

i) There shall be no smoking or use of tobacco products in any form in the child care center or in the presence of children while on the playground or engaged in other activity away from the center.

j) Major cleaning shall not be done while children are present.

k) Basement or cellar windows used or intended to be used for ventilation, and all other openings to a basement or cellar, shall not permit the entry of rodents.

l) Openings to the outside shall be protected against the entrance of flies or other flying insects by doors, windows, screens, or other approved means.

m) Any extensive extermination of pest or rodents shall be conducted by a licensed pest control operator under the direct observation of a staff member to insure that residue is not left in areas accessible to children.

n) Chemicals for insect and rodent control shall be applied in minimum amounts and shall not be used when children are present in the facility. Over-the-counter products may be used only according to package instructions. Commercial chemicals, if used, shall be applied by a licensed pest control operator and shall meet all standards of the Department of Public Health (Structural Pest Control Code, 77 Ill. Adm. Code 830). A record of any pesticides used shall be maintained at the facility.

o) All garbage and refuse shall be collected daily and stored in a manner that will not permit the transmission of disease, create a nuisance or a fire hazard or provide harborage for insects, rodents or other pests.

  1. An adequate number of covered, durable, water-tight, insect and rodent-proof garbage and refuse containers shall be provided for use.

  2. Garbage and refuse containers used to discard diapering supplies, food products or disposable meal service supplies shall be tightly covered and lined with plastic. Contents shall be covered immediately or removed for discarding.

p) The center shall be cleaned daily and kept in a sanitary condition at all times.

  1. The center shall provide necessary cleaning and maintenance equipment.

  2. Toys, table tops, furniture and other similar equipment used by children shall be washed and disinfected when soiled or contaminated with matter such as food, body secretions or excrement.

  3. Cleaning equipment, cleaning agents, aerosol cans and other hazardous chemical substances shall be labeled and stored in a space designated solely for this purpose. These materials shall be stored in a locked place which is inaccessible to children.

q) Kitchen sinks used for food preparation shall not be used as hand-washing lavatories nor counted in the total number of hand-washing lavatories required.

r) There shall be means for communication in emergencies.

  1. An operable non-coin telephone shall be on the premises, easily accessible for use in an emergency and for other communications.

  2. A list of emergency telephone numbers, such as the fire department, police department, poison control and emergency medical treatment, along with the full address of the day care center, shall be posted next to each telephone.

  3. In facilities where communication between groups is difficult due to the design of the day care center, operation in multiple buildings on the same site or on multiple floors, an intercom or a written plan for other effective means of communication between groups shall be provided.

  4. During hours of operation and at all times that children are present, there shall be a means for parents of enrolled children to have direct telephone contact with a center staff person.

(Source: Added at 22 Ill. Reg., effective January 1, 1998)

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