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Transporting Daycare Kids

Transporting Daycare Kids

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 about parents refusing to sign the permission slip for transportation.

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.

  1. Tisha07-04-11

    I’m just now starting out and I really like your articles. Especially the one about potty training. It was very helpful to me. I do transport one of my daycare children. She’s 4 and we’ve only gone to the public library (she’d never been). I have 2 other children but they are 2nd shift and more rambunctious. I will not take them anywhere. I can’t imagine providers using the car as a way to make their day easier though. I do not like loading and unloading my own children. It does take considerable time and you have to be very safety aware at all times. Even a well trained child can dart into the parking lot/road. It proves to be very difficult. It seems like it would be easier to be at home. I’m new at this and I love the articles. Keep them coming!

  2. Joy B07-07-11

    Different strokes for different providers I guess. I take my dck everywhere, heck I have even taken them on one day roadtrips. For example to a neighboring town (2 hour drive) to visit my sister, then we go to the zoo and to lunch, then drive them back home in time for pickup. It works for me and I believe it works for my clients. I would go crazy just stuck inside the house all day and a crazy provider is not going to get the clients!!

    • torifees07-08-11

      Yes different strokes for different folks. I can’t imagine a parent allowing a four hour total trip in one day care day for a family visit. Mine would rather them be playing toys and going for a walk. They would rather them sleep in their bed here and not in a car seat.

    • vicky07-09-13


    • Crider07-21-16

      It sounds like you are in the wrong industry. The only way you would get away with that crap is if you aren’t telling the parents at all. You are bored? Seriously?

  3. Dominique07-08-11

    Joy you mentioned one DCK and one trip. It seems like there is a reasonable amount that is understandable (with the parents permission) but there is also an extreme. Like the article stated, going out constantly for the provider’s errands. It can become an excessive amount and the destinations becoming less about the kids and more about the provider multitasking. I am imagining that a good number of that type of provider also has a DVD player on for the kids in the car, more screen time and less and less play time. Its a vicious cycle as the kids aren’t learning important skills and are not using energy, leading to more nap struggles too. I hope a lot of parents out there read this article and ask questions. I rarely ever transport kids, we walk to the park even. If I do transport, it is always with parents permission.

    • torifees07-08-11

      I’m not against transporting for field trips and kid related stuff. My dcp’s wouldn’t go for that but I can see a market for that. I can’t say I would ever bless a four hour trip in a kids nine/ten hour day. As long as parents are okay with it and it is for the kids and reasonable times then sure…. but I can tell you that there is a LOT of providers out there who are spending a LOT of their on the clock hours with the kids in the car.

  4. Suzi08-11-12

    There’s all kinds of reasons for taking kids places and all kinds of families and situations. I didn’t go anyplace for the first 7 years I was in business. I had a lot of parents leave because they did not want their kids cooped up at the house. THEN, I transitioned down to a very small daycare so that I could go places. I am open 7 days per week, 24 hours per day, and all but 2 days per year. My parents appreciate the fact that I am flexible and available for long hours. They know that since I ALWAYS have kids, ALL errands will likely be run with children.

    It’s really not that easy running these errands with the kids. It’s necessary. We manage. I’ve been running kids around for 18 years with no issues what-so-ever. I don’t have texting on my phone, can’t receive or send one at all. My driving record is clean. The only accident ever had with kids was when someone rear-ended me taking a child to school…not my child, a daycare child. We put ourselves on the line for parents in a variety of ways all the time. I choose to work only for those parents that are honest, reliable, appreciative, and will never work for someone that is selfish & uncaring about my families time and needs.

    This article is really rather poorly written as in one sided, extremely presumptuous, and not at all representative of a big segment of daycare population at all.

    • torifees08-11-12

      Thank you for your comments. Could you be more specific about being poorly written? I’m always up for constructive criticism. I do believe there is a market for transporting children. I also believe there is a LOT of providers who transport without the parents being completely aware of how often and for what purposes. I know from counselling parents and from interviewing that it’s actually a very common complaint and concern. If it works with your customer base and you enjoy it then I’m all for it. I don’t seek out parents who believe that being in my home or in our neighborhood on foot is cooped up. We have a big home, a park around the corner, a school four blocks away, and great sidewalks. I prefer not to take the liability of transporting and having ten toes on eight kids planted firmly on the ground.

  5. Suzi08-13-12

    By poorly written, I don’t mean grammar or style. I mean that this article is all one sided. You have decided that a particular type of provider does this as a way to cope with the kids. Who are you to decide such a thing. Maybe the provider and the kids enjoy their on the go lifestyle.

    First of all, from my own perspective.. I’m open 7 days per week, 24 hours per day a I said. Much of my clientele have always been young, single, with jobs that change frequently either totally new jobs, new hours, hours that cycle, or jobs like serving that presents plenty of opportunities for working longer days. These young clients keep very busy lifestyles of their own and often their children spend their lives taking tiny little catnaps in cars. Is this not the quality care you want for your child? Fine, live another way. But there are millions of kids that thrive with their young mothers and enjoy the fast on the go lifestyle.

    Secondly, I have a helper because my mother lives with me. She’s not paid, works entirely as a help to me. So I won’t leave her for long hours unless all the kids are with me. I can leave some children with her if someone is under the weather or has been naughty and needs to be grounded for a spell. Often I have a need to run to Walmart or Dollar General or go to the bank, get the oil changed etc.. If I ask the kids who wants to go, usually, everyone wants to go. My kids like looking at books, talking to each other, singing in the car, playing with their DS’s etc. They are not being abused because they live with parents and providers that are busy and live their lives.

    I am sure that every provider out there has their own reasons for transporting children. The idea that anyone is just trying to find a way to cope because they hate what they do is preposterous!

    I guarantee you that daycare providers can NOT clear enough money after all expenses and wear and tear on their homes AND their vehicles to make daycare something they hate but continue to do. I just came off of a long grueling weekend where every single one of my clients found a way to irritate and annoy me with leaving late, dropping off early, being missing without telling me, not answering their phones, and one mom picked up 10 HOURS late when I clearly told her that I did not intend to do those late hours. She just decided her desire to go home and sleep came before my desire for her to pick up at the time we agreed to. I am not in this business because I hate it! There has to be a lot of positive reasons that keep me going. Running errands with the kids is something that I actually DO ENJOY. People walk across stores, come to me in yes (DOCTORS OFFICES), and come across restaurants to rant and rave about how wonderful my tribe of kids are, how well behaved, how nice to listen to etc. Getting them out and about town where they speak to people, learn about life, and socialize with other children they see while out and about is in no way grueling for them or being used as a way for me to cope.

    Your article is insulting. I would stake my last dollar on the idea that you have described maybe half of one percent of providers out there, and that might be generous at BEST.

  6. Suzi08-13-12

    I did want to say that I want to state CLEARLY that it’s good for parents to decide what they want. If a parent does not want their child going a long for the ride, by all means, choose another kind of provider. Providers that open at 7am and close at 5pm have PLENTY of time to run their own errands. BUT TRUST me when I say that many providers that operate those very short hours complain constantly of parents that refuse to pick up on time. If they have 4 or 6 or 10 kids, depending on their state and the rules, they need only each parent to pick up late 2-3 times per month to seriously limit the opportunity they have to leave and run errands and still get home for a decent even meal and time left over for themselves. One reason I am open 7 days per week 24 hours per day is that I got tired of waiting to start my life when the parents finally show up and get their kids. If I can’t leave my house until 6 or 7pm, then as far as I’m concerned, my day is over. I’m simply tired and needing to clean house and go to bed. I learned many years ago that it’s easier to keep a smaller number of kids and take them everywhere I go than to try and live my own life when the parents get around to letting me 🙂

  7. torifees08-13-12

    I encourage you to read this thread on about providers doing child care who don’t want to do it:

  8. torifees08-13-12

    Here is a copy of a recent interaction I had with a parent concerned with transporting:

    Parent: “Thank you for the information. I would be needing a daycare provider for M-f, from now until Labor day 7:30am-to approximately 3:30pm for summer hours. After that, my regular hours are M-F 8 am-approximately 4pm. I also would like to express, my biggest concern is would you be traveling with my son??”

    Me: Not to worry. We do not transport children. We do go out for walks in our neighborhood and I live around the corner to one of our city parks.

    Parent: “Thank you for your time, I am checking into a few different daycare’s, because the daycare provider we have now, is on the go a lot with our baby.”

    Me: You know… there is a segment of providers who use the “little errands” approach with parents that gets you guys to allow them to take the kid in the car. The provider likes the kids in the car because they are buckled in. It’s way easier to supervise kids if they are in a car seat.

    Then I go on to explain what I wrote in this article.

    Parent: “Thank you for the information. The “little errands” approach is exactly what my daycare provider has in her contract!! That is one of my biggest fears is her getting into an accident with him and him not being on a feeding schedule or nap schedule is really making it hard for me in the evenings. I try to keep him on a schedule on the weekends, but it doesn’t really work when I can’t continue it during the week. My daycare provider does not travel all the time with him, but the majority of the time, she is on the go, she said “she gets tired of sitting at home with the kids & needs some adult time too” when i mentioned the issue to her before. I just want my son to go to someone that I know I can trust & I feel comfortable leaving him in the mornings.”

  9. Wanda08-27-12

    I have run a licensed child care for 13 years. I own a 15 passenger van and take the children on LOTS of fieldtrips! We go to hands-on museums, nature preserves, splash parks, zoos, arboretums, apple orchards, pumpkin farms, and so many cool parks! It is such a great experience for both the children and myself…I can’t imagine being cooped up in the house or limited to the back yard all day…My clients see it as a big BONUS! I am very up front about the number of trips we take…I have lost only two potential clients over the transportation issue in 13 yrs. Other than take the kids to school and occassionally go through the drive up at the bank on the way to a fieldtrip, I do not do personal errrands with the children. I am paid to teach them and play with them, not to run errands! I probably am a poor business person because I charge only a $50/yr fieldtrip fee and spend on average $1500 a year on fieldtrips and the gas needed to drive to them…however, I STILL LOVE what I do…I have loyal clients who appreciate the extra I do. I have the proper insurance (liability, auto, umbrella policy) and my state does not require daily permission slips. Its so nice to see the world through the children’s eyes…To be with them when they take one of their first pony rides or minature triain rides…I wouldn’t give it up for anything even though it is expensive…I am always complimented on how well behaved the children are when we’re out in public, but the best compliments I’ve received is about how much fun they can see we are having.

  10. Lerato Mejelo12-10-14

    I own a 09 passenger Quantum and take the children to school every day. I probably am a poor business person because I charge less fees I STILL LOVE what I do… I have loyal clients who appreciate the extra I do. I do not have insurance. I want a cheaper Insurance for the Quantum and the school children. Can someone please recommend one for me?

  11. Rachel Grande02-14-19

    Hello. I’m not sure if you are able to answer this but I am trying to find clarification. My niece’s daycare took her class to a senior home on the same campus, so it was walking distance. They did not get permission from or notify parents of the event, it seems that it was an off the cuff decision. On top of that, this event used to happen more frequently until one of the seniors became too handsy with the kids. So they stopped. Now since he is gone, they’ve impulsively started again. I repeat, without any notice to the parents. I feel there has to be something legally wrong in this situation.

  12. Greg Hampton08-10-20

    I like what you said about not doing your personal business while transporting daycare kids. My sister wants to make sure that her kids are cared for in the coming weeks. I’ll share this information with her so that she can look into her options for professionals who can help her with this.

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