North Carolina North Carolina

Licensing Standards for DayCare Centers


SECTION .0600 - SAFETY REQUIREMENTS FOR DAY CARE CENTERS

.0601 SAFE ENVIRONMENT

(a) A safe indoor and outdoor environment shall be provided for the children in care.

(b) All hazardous items, materials and equipment shall be used by children only when adult supervision is provided.

(c) Each day care center shall provide equipment and furnishings that are child-size or which can be adapted for safe and effective use by children. Chairs and tables shall be of proper height for the children who will be using them. Outdoor play equipment shall be age and developmentally appropriate.

(d) Separate play areas or time schedules shall be provided for children under two years of age unless fewer than 15 children are in care. If a facility shares playground space with another facility that serves children, a separate play area or time schedule shall be provided for each facility.

History Note: Authority G.S. 110-85(2); 110-91(3),(6); 143B-168.3;

Eff. January 1, 1986; Amended Eff. January 1, 1996; January 1, 1991.

.0602 CONDITION OF INDOOR EQUIPMENT AND FURNISHINGS

(a) All equipment and furnishings shall be in good repair and shall be maintained in useable condition. All commercially manufactured equipment and furnishings shall be assembled and installed according to procedures specified by the manufacturer.

(b) Equipment and furnishings shall be sturdy, stable, and free of hazards that may injure children including sharp edges, lead based paint, loose nails, and splinters.

(c) All broken equipment or furnishings shall be removed from the premises immediately or made inaccessible to the children.

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

Eff. January 1, 1986; Amended Eff. January 1, 1996; January 1, 1991;

Temporary Amendment Eff. October 1, 1997; Amended Eff. July 1, 1998.

.0603 OVERNIGHT FURNISHINGS

A safe and comfortable bed, crib, or cot, equipped with a firm waterproof mattress at least four inches thick will be provided for each child who remains in the center after midnight.

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

Eff. January 1, 1986; Amended Eff. January 1, 1991.

.0604 GENERAL SAFETY REQUIREMENTS

(a) Potentially hazardous items, such as firearms and ammunition, hand and power tools, nails, chemicals, lawn mowers, gasoline or kerosene, archery equipment, propane stoves, whether or not intended for use by children, shall be stored in locked areas or with other appropriate safeguards, or shall be removed from the premises.

(b) Electrical outlets not in use which are located in space used by the children shall be covered with safety plugs unless located behind furniture or equipment that cannot be moved by a child.

(c) Electric fans shall be mounted out of the reach of children or shall be fitted with an appropriate mesh guard to prevent access by children.

(d) All small electrical appliances shall be used only in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

(e) Electrical cords shall not be accessible to infants and toddlers. Extension cords, except as approved by the local fire inspector, shall not be used. Frayed or cracked electrical cords shall be replaced.

(f) All materials used for starting fires, such as matches and lighters, shall be kept in locked storage or shall be stored out of the reach of children.

(g) Smoking shall not be permitted in space used by children when children are present. All smoking materials shall be kept in locked storage or out of the reach of children.

(h) Fuel burning heaters, fireplaces and floor furnaces shall be provided with a protective screen attached securely to substantial supports to prevent access by children and to prevent objects from being thrown into them.

(i) Plants that are toxic shall not be in indoor or outdoor space that is used by or is accessible to children.

(j) The outdoor play area shall be protected by a fence or other protection. The height shall be a minimum of four feet and the top of the fence shall be free of protrusions by January 1, 1999. The requirement disallowing protrusions on the tops of fences shall not apply to fences six feet high or above. The fencing shall exclude fixed bodies of water such as ditches, quarries, canals, excavations, and fish ponds. Gates to the fenced outdoor play area shall remain securely closed while children occupy the area. When the center uses areas outside the fenced outdoor play area for children's activities or takes children off the premises for play or outings, the parent of each child shall give written permission for the child to be included in such activities. The permission may be:

(1) a one-time, blanket permission for all activities;

(2) a one-time, blanket permission for a specific activity at any time; or

(3) a one-time permission for a specific activity at a designated time.

The center shall maintain the signed permission in the child's record. When children are taken off the premises, staff accompanying the children shall have a list of the names of all children participating in the outing. When the center provides transportation for children, the center shall furnish parents the names of all regularly scheduled drivers.

(k) Air conditioning units shall be located so that they are not accessible to children or shall be fitted with a mesh guard to prevent objects from being thrown into them.

(l) Gas tanks shall be located so they are not accessible to the children or shall be in a protective enclosure or surrounded by a protective guard.

(m) Cribs and playpens shall be placed so that the children occupying them shall not have access to cords or ropes, such as venetian blind cords.

(n) Children shall not be allowed to play on outdoor equipment that is too hot to touch.

(o) The indoor and outdoor premises shall be checked daily for debris, vandalism and broken equipment. Debris shall be removed and disposed of appropriately.

(p) The playground surface area shall be checked at least weekly to assure that surface material is maintained to assure continued resiliency.

(q) Following completion of safety training by the administrator or other staff person as required by Rule .0705(e) of this Subchapter, a monthly playground inspection shall be conducted and a record of each inspection shall be completed. This staff person shall use a playground inspection checklist provided by the Division. The checklist shall be signed by the person who conducts the inspection and shall be maintained in the center's files for review by a representative of the Division.

(r) Plastic bags, toys and toy parts small enough to be swallowed, and materials that can be easily torn apart such as foam rubber and styrofoam, shall not be accessible to children under three years of age, except that styrofoam plates and larger pieces of foam rubber may be used for supervised art activities and styrofoam plates may be used for food service. Latex and rubber balloons shall not be accessible to children under five years of age.

History Note: Authority G.S. 110-85(1); 110-91(3),(6); 143B-168.3;

Eff. January 1, 1991; Amended Eff. January 1, 1996; November 1, 1991;

Temporary Amendment Eff. October 1, 1997; Amended Eff. July 1, 1998.

.0605 CONDITION OF OUTDOOR PLAY EQUIPMENT

(a) All equipment shall be in good repair and shall be maintained in useable condition. All commercially manufactured equipment shall be assembled and installed according to procedures specified by the manufacturer.

(b) Equipment shall be sturdy, stable, and free of hazards that are accessible to children during normal supervised play including sharp edges, lead based paint, loose nails, splinters, protrusions(excluding nuts and bolts on sides of fences), pinch and crush points.

(c) All broken equipment shall be removed from the premises immediately or made inaccessible to the children.

(d) Any openings in equipment, steps, decks and handrails shall be smaller than 3" or greater than 9" to prevent entrapment.

(e) All upright angles shall be greater than 55° to prevent entrapment and entanglement.

(f) All stationary outdoor equipment shall be installed over a resilient surface. Footings which anchor equipment shall not be exposed. Loose surfacing material shall not be installed over concrete. Acceptable materials to be used for surfacing include the following: wood mulch, double shredded bark mulch, uniform wood chips, fine sand, coarse sand, and pea gravel. Other materials that have been certified by the manufacturer to be shock-absorbing resilient material in accordance with the American Society for Testing and Materials(ASTM) Standard 1292, may be used only if installed, maintained and replaced according to the manufacturer's instructions. Pea gravel shall not be used if the area will be used by children under three years of age. The depth of the surfacing that is required shall be based on the critical height of the equipment. The critical height is defined as the maximum height a child may climb, sit or stand.

(1) Equipment with a critical height of five feet or less shall have six inches of any of the surfacing materials listed.

(2) Equipment with a critical height of more than five feet but less than seven feet shall have six inches of any of the surfacing materials listed, except for sand.

(3) Equipment with a critical height of seven feet to 10 feet shall have nine inches of any of the surfacing materials listed, except for sand.

(4) When sand is used as a surfacing material for equipment with a critical height of more than five feet,12 inches is required.

(g) The resilient surfacing shall extend beyond the external limits of the equipment for a minimum of six feet. The area which is required to have the resilient surfacing is the area under and around the equipment where the child is likely to fall and it is called the fall zone. Fall zones may overlap in three situations: between two swing structures, around spring rockers, or around equipment that is less than 30 inches in height.

(h) Swings shall have resilient surfacing that extends two times the length of the pivot point to the surface below. The surfacing shall be to the front and rear of the swing. Enclosed tot swings shall have resilient surfacing that extends two times the length of the pivot point to the bottom of the swing seat. The surfacing shall be to the front and rear of the swing. Tot swings are defined as swings with enclosed seats. Tire swings shall have resilient surfacing that extends a distance of six feet plus the measurement from the pivot point to the swing seat and six feet to the side of the support structure.

(i) Swing seats shall be made of plastic or soft or flexible material.

(j) Elevated platforms shall have a guardrail or protective barrier, depending upon the height of the platform and the age of children that will have access to the piece of equipment. All sides of platforms shall be protected except for the area which allows entry or exit. Guardrails shall prevent inadvertent or unintentional falls off the platform. Protective barriers shall prevent children from climbing over or through the barrier. The critical height for a platform with a protective barrier is the platform surface; the critical height for a platform with a guardrail is the top of the guardrail. Measurements for the guardrails and protective barriers are stated below:

(1) Equipment used by preschool and school-age children:

(A) Guardrails - an elevated surface that is more than 20 inches and no more than 30 inches above the underlying surface shall have a guardrail. The minimum height of the top surface of the guardrail shall be at least 38 inches high and the lower edge shall be no more than 23 inches above the platform.

(B) Protective Barriers - an elevated surface that is more than 30 inches above the underlying surface shall have a protective barrier. The minimum height of the top surface of the protective barrier shall be at least 38 inches high.

(2) Equipment used exclusively by preschool children:

(A) Guardrails - an elevated surface that is more than 20 inches and no more than 30 inches above the underlying surface shall have a guardrail. The minimum height of the top surface of the guardrail shall be at least 29 inches high and the lower edge shall be no more than 23 inches above the platform.

(B) Protective Barriers - an elevated surface that is more than 30 inches above the underlying surface shall have a protective barrier. The minimum height of the top surface of the protective barrier shall be at least 29 inches high.

(3) Equipment used exclusively by school-age children:

(A) Guardrails - an elevated surface that is more than 30 inches and no more than 48 inches above the underlying surface shall have a guardrail. The minimum height of the top surface of the guardrail shall be at least 38 inches high and the lower edge shall be no more than 26 inches above the platform.

(B) Protective Barriers - an elevated surface that is more than 48 inches above the underlying surface shall have a protective barrier. The minimum height of the top surface of the protective barrier shall be at least 38 inches high.

(k) All equipment and surfacing ordered, constructed or installed on or after October 1, 1997 shall conform to all the requirements in this Rule. All equipment and surfacing ordered, constructed, or installed prior to October 1, 1997 shall conform to Paragraphs(a) through(c) of this Rule.

(l) All equipment and surfacing ordered, constructed, or installed prior to October 1, 1997 shall conform with paragraphs(d) through(j) of this rule by January 1, 2000.

(1) Any operator who is unable to comply by this date due to hardship may contact the Division by July 1, 1999 to apply for an extension until January 1, 2001.

(2) In cases where a large composite structure was installed after January 1, 1989 until January 1, 1996 according to manufacturer's instructions and met existing safety standards for playground equipment at the time of installation, an operator may contact the Division to apply for approval for continued use of the structure. Approval shall be based upon:

(A) Documentation submitted that verifies the structure was installed according to manufacturer's instructions; and

(B) Documentation submitted that verifies the structure met existing safety standards at the time of installation; and

(C) An inspection from a representative of the Division to determine the structure remains in good repair and in a useable condition.

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

Temporary Adoption Eff. October 1, 1997; Eff. October 29, 1998.


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