If you are debating whether or not to send your child to infant daycare, the answer is: it depends. That may not be the most satisfying answer, but it truly depends on various factors, including your child’s health, the steps a daycare center is taking, and COVID cases in your area. Read below for a guide on what to consider when making the important choice of whether or not to send your infant to child care.
Talk To Your Child’s Pediatrician
Before you begin searching the internet for answers, consult a trusted medical professional. They can make sure your baby has the proper immunizations and assess their current health. If your baby has underlying health conditions or a weakened immune system, your pediatrician may advise you against sending them to childcare. They may also warn you against doing so if COVID cases in your local area are high. If your child is otherwise in good health and cases are low, your doctor may tentatively give the green light to send your baby to daycare, provided that the daycare will take the necessary precautions to limit COVID transmission as much as possible. Your doctor may even be able to offer recommendations for infant child care facilities that they deem most safe.
Talk To Your Infant Childcare Center
The second most important resource is the infant childcare center where you are planning to send your baby. During a normal time, there are important questions to ask your infant daycare center, such as their policies on parental communication, child-to-adult ratio, and licensed staff. With the pandemic, there are an additional set of concerns that your childcare provider should be able to address. The following are some topics you may want to know more about.
Although in daycare, it is nearly impossible for your child not to come into contact with other children, there are steps that infant child care providers can take in order to limit contact. For instance, grouping children into “pods” can be one effective measure, in which children will primarily interact with the other members of their pod. This is especially important if children are under the age for which the CDC recommends wearing masks. During naptime, children should sleep as far apart as possible and without masks. As much as possible, children only interact with other children in their pods in addition to the designated caregiver(s) for that pod. This makes it easier to limit and trace potential transmission if it occurs.
Daycares should ramp up any cleaning measures that are normally in place. This includes disinfecting toys and shared areas before each new group of children comes in. Likely, infant child care centers will also reduce or eliminate entirely any plush toys, sandboxes, or other items that cannot be easily sanitized between uses. For items such as Play Doh or crayons and pencils, daycares should assign each child or pod their own set.
If the circumstances permit it, children should play outside to avoid viral transmission, as long as any equipment or toys can be properly sanitized and each pod’s time outside can be staggered. Opening windows while indoors can also increase ventilation and reduce the likelihood of transmission.
Infants and staff members must be screened on a daily basis for COVID symptoms in addition to taking a temperature check at the door. Once children are inside the center, they will immediately wash their hands. Parents or guardians will have to answer a series of questions about their health and children’s health as well as if their children have come into contact with anyone with COVID or who has been recently tested. Any red flags will result in the child or staff member having to stay home temporarily. Ideally, the same person will pick up and drop off a child and will wear a face mask while doing so. Daycares should also stagger pickup/dropoff to avoid parents or children in other pods coming into contact.
Weigh The Pros And Cons
Once you’ve gathered all the information you need, you can compare your options. While keeping your baby at home may be the safest option, it may not be feasible considering you or another family member must care for them at all times. If this is the case, daycare may be an option you want to consider. Ultimately, you must balance safety, affordability, and practicality when making your decision.
Find A Daycare Center You Trust
Parkland Children’s Academy provides family-oriented infant child care, VPK, and after school care to accommodate your family’s needs. We are proudly following all state, local, and CDC recommended guidelines by limiting class sizes, employing extensive sanitization methods, practicing social distancing, and conducting physical health checks each and every day of our students and caregivers. Contact us today at (954) 688-5877 to learn more.