Create a Culture of Safety

In programs, all managers, staff, and families embrace the belief that children have the right to be safe by creating a culture of safety. They provide "an environment that encourages people to speak up about safety concerns, makes it safe to talk about mistakes and errors, and encourages learning from these events." Children are safer when managers, staff, and families work together to improve the strategies they use in homes, centers, and the community so children don't get hurt. Explore the resources below to learn more about creating a culture of safety.

Safety Practices

Early childhood programs keep children safe when their facilities, materials, and equipment are hazard-free and all staff use safety practices such as active supervision. Find resources to help staff and families reduce the number and severity of childhood injuries everywhere that children learn and grow. Discover tips for use at home, in cars and buses, on the playground, and in all early childhood settings.

Location of Electrical Devices near Water

No electrical device or apparatus accessible to children should be located so it could be plugged into an electrical outlet while a person is in contact with a water source, such as a sink, tub, shower area, water table, or swimming pool.


Center-based programs should not have firearms or any other weapon on the premises at any time. If present in a family child care home, parents should be notified and these items should be unloaded, equipped with child protective devices, and kept under lock and key with the ammunition locked separately in areas inaccessible to the children. Parents/guardians should be informed about this policy.

/Sign-Out System

Programs should have a sign-in/sign-out system to track those who enter and exit the facility. The system should include name, contact number, relationship to facility (e.g., parent/guardian, vendor, guest, etc.), and recorded time in and out.

Compliance with Fire Prevention Code

Programs should comply with a state-approved or nationally recognized fire prevention code, such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101: Life Safety Code.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Programs should meet state or local laws regarding carbon monoxide detectors, including circumstances when detectors are necessary. Detectors should be tested monthly, and testing should be documented. Batteries should be changed at least yearly. Detectors should be replaced according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Safety Covers and Shock Protection Devices for Electrical Outlets

All accessible electrical outlets should be “tamper-resistant electrical outlets” that contain internal shutter mechanisms to prevent children from sticking objects into receptacles. In settings that do not have “tamper-resistant electrical outlets,” outlets should have “safety covers” that are attached to the electrical outlet by a screw or other means to prevent easy removal by a child. “Safety plugs” may also be used if they cannot be easily removed from outlets by children and do not pose a choking risk.

Sun Safety Including Sunscreen

Caregivers/teachers should ensure sun safety for themselves and children under their supervision by keeping infants younger than six months out of direct sunlight, limiting sun exposure when ultraviolet rays are strongest and applying sunscreen with written permission of parents/guardians. Manufacturer instructions should be followed.