Disaster Planning, Training and Communication/Emergency and Evacuation Drills

Early care and education programs should consider how to prepare for and respond to emergency situations or natural disasters that may require evacuation, lock-down, or shelter-in-place and have written plans, accordingly. Written plans should be posted in each classroom and areas used by children. The following topics should be addressed, including but not limited to regularly scheduled practice drills, procedures for notifying and updating parents, and the use of the daily class roster(s) to check attendance of children and staff during an emergency or drill when gathered in a safe space after exit and upon return to the program. All drills/exercises should be recorded.

Preparing, Feeding, and Storing Human Milk

Programs should develop and follow procedures for the preparation and storage of expressed human milk that ensures the health and safety of all infants, as outlined by the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol #8; Revision 2010, and prohibits the use of infant formula for a breastfed infant without parental consent. The bottle or container should be properly labeled with the infant's full name and date; and should only be given to the specified child.  Unused breast milk should be returned to parent in the bottle or container.

Recognizing and Reporting Suspected Child Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation

Because caregivers/teachers are mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect, each program should have a written policy for reporting child abuse and neglect. The written policy should specify that in any instance where there is reasonable cause to believe that child abuse or neglect has occurred, the individual who suspects child abuse or neglect should report directly to the child abuse reporting hotline,  child protective services, or the police, as required by state and local laws.

Supervision near Water

Constant and active supervision should be maintained when any child is in or around water. During swimming and/or bathing where an infant or toddler is present, the ratio should always be one adult to one infant/toddler. During wading and/or water play activities, the supervising adult should be within an arm’s length providing “touch supervision.” Programs should ensure that all pools have drain covers that are used in compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act.

Child Abuse and Neglect Education

Caregivers/teachers should be educated on child abuse and neglect to establish child abuse and neglect prevention and recognition strategies for children, caregivers/teachers, and parents/guardians. The education should address physical, sexual, and psychological or emotional abuse and neglect. Caregivers/teachers are mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect. Caregivers/teachers should be trained in compliance with their state's child abuse reporting laws.

Active Opportunities for Physical Activity

Programs should promote developmentally appropriate active play for all children, including infants and toddlers, every day. Children should have opportunities to engage in moderate to vigorous activities indoors and outdoors, weather permitting.

First Aid and CPR Training for Staff

All staff members involved in providing direct care to children should have up-to-date documentation of satisfactory completion of training in pediatric first aid and current certification in pediatric CPR. Records of successful completion of training in pediatric first aid and CPR should be maintained in the personnel files of the facility.

Methods of Supervision of Children

In center-based programs, caregivers/teachers should directly supervise children under age 6 by sight and sound at all times. In family child care settings, caregivers should directly supervise children by sight or sound. When children are sleeping, caregivers may supervise by sound with frequent visual checks.

Personal Caregiver/Teacher Relationships for Birth to Five-Year-Olds

Programs should implement relationship-based policies and program practices that promote consistency and continuity of care, especially for infants and toddlers. Early care and education programs should provide opportunities for each child to build emotionally secure relationships with a limited number of caregivers/teachers. Children with special health care needs may require additional specialists to promote health and safety and to support learning.