Letting go of your children and putting them into someone else’s hands, often for a good part of the day, is something that the majority of parent’s have to deal with on a daily basis. I suppose it can be a relief to hand them over to someone else for a while but nevertheless, you want to be sure that whoever is taking care of your child or children, is qualified. Most importantly, you want to be sure that your child is going to be safe.
In Minnesota, a reported 86 infant deaths have occurred since 2002, and about three-quarters of those deaths occurred while the infants were sleeping. A state panel composed of 31 “experts in pathology, law enforcement, pediatrics” and others, along with the Minnesota Department of Human Services reviewed these deaths in order to make new recommendations for child-care providers in the state and prevent such unnecessary deaths from occurring in the future. These recommendations extend to licensed home-based care where the majority of the reported deaths occurred.
The panel wants the state to create “tougher standards for safety training and license enforcement of in-home child-care providers.” For example, they are recommending that in-home providers should receive 40 hours of training prior to being licensed followed by 24 hours training per year after that. Current requirements are only at 8 hours of yearly training. Another recommendation being made is that providers need to carry liability insurance.
Since so many of the deaths occurred while infants were sleeping, the panel recommended that providers “automatically lose their licenses if infants in their care are found in unapproved sleep positions.” There are actually “safe-sleep” guidelines that providers have to follow. It seems some of this is common sense. One of the panel experts mentioned not putting an infant to bed with heavy blankets or other suffocation hazards. This is common sense. I would also point out another controversial sleeping habit that some parents participate in, which to me doesn’t seem like a wise idea; that is co-sleeping with their babies. Another bad idea is putting an infant to sleep in an adult bed with heavy blankets, or with another child. That’s why cribs exist.
Some advice here would be to do your research and check into the child-care facility that you are going to place your child in, be it an in-home care provider or child-care center. Among the recommendations made by this panel are also that the inspection results of child-care providers be posted online so that people can be better informed on the providers they are considering. This would greatly help parents doing a background check on potential nannies or day care centers, and would create a great deal more transparency. Also, parents should take initiative and always check into any child-care center and make sure, for instance, they have adequate staffing and aren’t over-crowded.