North Carolina North Carolina

Licensing Standards for DayCare Centers



(a) Indoor space on which licensed capacity is based will be referred to as "primary space". The licensing consultant will measure all primary space that will routinely be used by children who attend the center, except that the following will not be included: closets, hallways, storage areas, kitchens, bathrooms, utility areas; thresholds, foyers, space or rooms used for administrative activities or space occupied by adult-sized desks, cabinets, file cabinets, etc.; single-use rooms, including music rooms, isolation/sick rooms, gymnasiums, dining rooms, sleep rooms; any floor space occupied by or located under equipment, furniture, or materials not used by children; and any floor space occupied by or located under built-in equipment or furniture.

(1) Any single-use room used by the children for sleeping only, either during nap time or any other time, will also be measured by the Division's representative to assure that the available floor space provides 200 cubic feet of air space per child for the maximum number of children who will sleep in that room at any time.

(2) All measurements will be rounded off to the nearest inch.

(3) Total space on which the licensed capacity is based will be the sum of the measurements of all primary space to be used by the children. However, no room will routinely be occupied by more children than the primary space in that room will accommodate at 25 square feet of space per child. This is not meant to preclude grouping children together periodically for special activities, such as to view films or slides; for special presentations, such as puppet or magic shows, a special story teller, a discussion of safety practices by a fireman or nurse, etc. However, care must be taken to assure that during such special activities, the room used is not so overcrowded that the children and staff would be endangered in case of a fire or other emergency necessitating evacuation of the center.

(b) For centers with a licensed capacity of three to 12 children located in a residence, the dining area of a kitchen may be counted if it is routinely used for children's activities in addition to eating.

(c) Paragraph(a) of this Rule shall apply only to child care centers initially licensed on or after February 1, 1985.

History Note: Authority G.S. 110-91(6); 143B-168.3;

Eff. January 1, 1986; Amended Eff. July 1, 1998; November 1, 1989.


(a) When a center is licensed for six to twenty-nine children, inclusive, there shall be 75 square feet per child outdoor play area for the total number of children for which the center is licensed. In addition, the total number of children on the playground shall not exceed the number the space will accommodate at 75 square feet per child.

(b) When a center is licensed for 30 or more children, there shall be 75 square feet per child of outdoor play area for at least one-half of the total number for which the center is licensed, provided that the minimum amount of space on the outdoor play area shall be enough to accommodate at least 30 children.

(c) Paragraphs(a) and(b) of this Rule apply only to child day care centers initially licensed after April 1, 1984.

(d) The outdoor play area shall provide an area that is shaded by a building, awnings, trees, or other methods.

(e) The outdoor area shall be designed so that staff are able to see and easily supervise the entire area.

History Note: Authority G.S. 110-85(1),(2); 110-91(6); 143B-168.3;

Eff. January 1, 1986; Amended Eff. January 1, 1996.


(a) When children participate in swimming or other aquatic activities, a person who has a current life guard training certificate, issued by the Red Cross or other training determined by the Division to be equivalent to the Red Cross training, appropriate for both the type of body of water and type of aquatic activities shall be present to supervise the children in or near the water and shall not be counted in the staff-child ratio. One person with a life guard training certificate is required for each group of 25 or fewer children.

(b) The staff-child ratios set forth in G.S. 110-91(7) shall be maintained whenever children participate in swimming activities, including swimming instruction.

(c) Any swimming pool which is located on the day care facility premises shall be enclosed by a fence and shall be separated from the remaining outdoor play area by that fence.

(d) Swimming pool safety rules shall be posted near the swimming pool. At a minimum these rules shall address:

(1) the location of a first-aid kit;

(2) that non-water toys are prohibited;

(3) that children shall not run or push one another;

(4) that no swimming is allowed without an adult present; and

(5) that glass objects are not allowed.

(e) All swimming pools used by children shall meet the "Rules Governing Public Swimming Pools", in accordance with 15A NCAC 18A .2500 which are incorporated by reference, including subsequent amendments. A copy of these Rules is on file with the Division of Child Development, 319 Chapanoke Road, Raleigh, NC 27626, or may be obtained at no cost by writing the North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Environmental Health, PO Box 27687, Raleigh, NC 27611-7687.

History Note: Authority G.S. 110-88(5); 110-91(1),(6); 143B-168.3;

Eff. January 1, 1986; Amended Eff. January 1, 1996; January 1, 1992; January 1, 1987.

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