(a) A program must establish, train staff on, implement, and enforce a system of health and safety practices that ensure children are kept safe at all times. A program should consult Caring for our Children Basics, available at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ecd/caring-our-children-basics, for additional information to develop and implement adequate safety policies and practices described in this part.
(b) A program must develop and implement a system of management, including ongoing training, oversight, correction and continuous improvement in accordance with §1302.102, that includes policies and practices to ensure all facilities, equipment and materials, background checks, safety training, safety and hygiene practices and administrative safety procedures are adequate to ensure child safety. This system must ensure:
(1) Facilities. All facilities where children are served, including areas for learning, playing, sleeping, toileting, and eating are, at a minimum:
(ii) Clean and free from pests;
(iii) Free from pollutants, hazards and toxins that are accessible to children and could endanger children’s safety;
(iv) Designed to prevent child injury and free from hazards, including choking, strangulation, electrical, and drowning hazards, hazards posed by appliances and all other safety hazards;
(v) Well lit, including emergency lighting;
(vi) Equipped with safety supplies that are readily accessible to staff, including, at a minimum, fully-equipped and up-to-date first aid kits and appropriate fire safety supplies;
(vii) Free from firearms or other weapons that are accessible to children;
(viii) Designed to separate toileting and diapering areas from areas for preparing food, cooking, eating, or children’s activities; and,
(ix) Kept safe through an ongoing system of preventative maintenance.
(2) Equipment and materials. Indoor and outdoor play equipment, cribs, cots, feeding chairs, strollers, and other equipment used in the care of enrolled children, and as applicable, other equipment and materials meet standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or the American Society for Testing and Materials, International (ASTM). All equipment and materials must at a minimum:
(i) Be clean and safe for children’s use and are appropriately disinfected;
(ii) Be accessible only to children for whom they are age appropriate;
(iii) Be designed to ensure appropriate supervision of children at all times;
(iv) Allow for the separation of infants and toddlers from preschoolers during play in center-based programs; and,
(v) Be kept safe through an ongoing system of preventative maintenance.
(3) Background checks. All staff have complete background checks in accordance with §1302.90(b).
(4) Safety training. (i) Staff with regular child contact. All staff with regular child contact have initial orientation training within three months of hire and ongoing training in all state, local, tribal, federal and program-developed health, safety and child care requirements to ensure the safety of children in their care; including, at a minimum, and as appropriate based on staff roles and ages of children they work with, training in:
(A) The prevention and control of infectious diseases;
(B) Prevention of sudden infant death syndrome and use of safe sleeping practices;
(C) Administration of medication, consistent with standards for parental consent;
(D) Prevention and response to emergencies due to food and allergic reactions;
(E) Building and physical premises safety, including identification of and protection from hazards, bodies of water, and vehicular traffic;
(F) Prevention of shaken baby syndrome, abusive head trauma, and child maltreatment;
(G) Emergency preparedness and response planning for emergencies;
(H) Handling and storage of hazardous materials and the appropriate disposal of biocontaminants;
(I) Appropriate precautions in transporting children, if applicable;
(J) First aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation; and,
(K) Recognition and reporting of child abuse and neglect, in accordance with the requirement at paragraph (b)(5) of this section;
(ii) Staff without regular child contact. All staff with no regular responsibility for or contact with children have initial orientation training within three months of hire; ongoing training in all state, local, tribal, federal and program-developed health and safety requirements applicable to their work; and training in the program’s emergency and disaster preparedness procedures.
(5) Safety practices. All staff and consultants follow appropriate practices to keep children safe during all activities, including, at a minimum:
(i) Reporting of suspected or known child abuse and neglect, including that staff comply with applicable federal, state, local, and tribal laws;
(ii) Safe sleep practices, including ensuring that all sleeping arrangements for children under 18 months of age use firm mattresses or cots, as appropriate, and for children under 12 months, soft bedding materials or toys must not be used;
(iii) Appropriate indoor and outdoor supervision of children at all times;
(iv) Only releasing children to an authorized adult;
(v) All standards of conduct described in §1302.90(c); and
(vi) Masking, using masks recommended by CDC, for all individuals 2 years of age or older when there are two or more individuals on a vehicle owned, leased, or arranged by the Head Start program; indoors in a setting when Head Start services are provided; and for those not fully vaccinated, outdoors in crowded settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact with other people, except:
(A) Children or adults when they are either eating or drinking;
(B) Children when they are napping;
(C) When a person cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, because of a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act; or
(D) When a child’s health care provider advises an alternative face covering to accommodate the child’s special health care needs.
(6) Hygiene practices. All staff systematically and routinely implement hygiene practices that at a minimum ensure:
(i) Appropriate toileting, hand washing, and diapering procedures are followed;
(ii) Safe food preparation; and,
(iii) Exposure to blood and body fluids are handled consistent with standards of the Occupational Safety Health Administration.
(7) Administrative safety procedures. Programs establish, follow, and practice, as appropriate, procedures for, at a minimum:
(ii) Fire prevention and response;
(iii) Protection from contagious disease, including appropriate inclusion and exclusion policies for when a child is ill, and from an infectious disease outbreak, including appropriate notifications of any reportable illness;
(iv) The handling, storage, administration, and record of administration of medication;
(v) Maintaining procedures and systems to ensure children are only released to an authorized adult; and,
(vi) Child specific health care needs and food allergies that include accessible plans of action for emergencies. For food allergies, a program must also post individual child food allergies prominently where staff can view wherever food is served.
(8) Disaster preparedness plan. The program has all-hazards emergency management/disaster preparedness and response plans for more and less likely events including natural and manmade disasters and emergencies, and violence in or near programs.
(c) A program must report any safety incidents in accordance with §1302.102(d)(1)(ii).