Touring a Daycare? 7 Red Flags to Look Out For

October 30, 2020

As you search for the perfect daycare for your children, it's good to have questions ready and look for certain red flags. And one of the best ways to narrow down the right daycare is to go on a tour. It is a great way to interact with the staff, ask all of your questions and see how the children are cared for. 

On any daycare tour, you should have prepared questions. You’ll want to take your time exploring the location and observe not only the interactions between the staff and the children, but also the facility itself. You should keep an eye out for red flags that a center might not be right for you and your family. While some things will be obvious when you walk in, others won’t be.

Below are seven daycare red flags to watch out for during your tour.

Red Flag 1:

Unsanitary or unsafe – You’ll want to look around and check for any unsafe or unsanitary conditions.

  • Do the toys look like they’re cleaned or wiped down often? Now, more than ever, in the time of COVID-19, it’s important any facility is kept clean and sanitized frequently.
  • Look up at the ceiling. Are any tiles stained? This could mean a leaky roof or mold. Something you won’t want your children around.
  • Check out the restroom while on the tour to see how clean it is. Look out for an area where diapers are changed. If you don’t see a separate location for a changing area, this could mean that diapers are changed in the playroom.
  • What does the play area look like? Are there any hazardous items children could accidentally get hurt touching or climbing on? Are there any dangerous toys?
  • How many security cameras are there? Are they in the right spot? Maybe there’s too many or not enough.

Red Flag 2:

Large groups of kids – Take note of how many kids are together and how many adults are with them. Depending on the age group of the children, there are regulations of the ratio of children to adults. If it looks like the groups of children are too large, the facility might be understaffed.

Red Flag 3:

Blocked exits – Check out not only the entrance and exits, but any fire exits. Is there anything blocking exits? In an emergency, would it be easy for children and the staff to get to the exits? If a bookshelf or toys are blocking the exits, it would be hard to leave quickly. While checking out the exits, look around for non-expired fire extinguishers, as well as if there are sprinklers in the ceiling.

Red Flag 4:

High turnover of employees – Ask how long staff members have been there. If you start hearing that employees don’t stay for very long, they could be treated poorly or the daycare is a bad work environment. If employees have been there for at least three years, it could mean it’s a good place to work (and play!).

Red Flag 5:

Bored children – Are the children enjoying themselves or do they look bored and uninterested? If so, there could be a lack of interaction with caregivers or the activities could not be age appropriate.

Red Flag 6:

Poor treatment – How are the caregivers interacting with the children? Are they aggravated or annoyed? Do they seem frustrated? Are they short in their responses to the children? Are the children left unattended? 

Red Flag 7:

Bad vibe – For whatever the reason, you just get a general bad vibe when you walk in. Go with your gut. If something is off, and you just can’t quite pinpoint it, that probably means the facility just isn’t right for you. Have they answered all of your questions to your satisfaction or are they skirting some issues you’ve brought up? After your tour, are they easy to get in touch with? If not, this could be a sign of what your relationship will be like with the facility in the future, which could be bad in an emergency.

BONUS: Mask etiquette – In the time of COVID-19, you’ll want to make sure the staff is properly wearing masks. In addition, you’ll want to make sure they are mandating children of certain ages are wearing masks, and that the facility has social distancing measures in place.

In the end, you want to leave a daycare facility tour feeling satisfied with the answers to all of your questions. And you want to feel confident that your children will be in good hands. If you have any doubt, it could mean that you need to keep searching for the perfect daycare.

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