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 This week a three-month-old infant, Karl, was placed down for a nap at an unlicensed daycare in New York City and never woke up. (http://abcnews.go.com/US/ny-infant-dies-1st-day-allegedly-unlicensed-day/story?id=32461263) Although it is too early to confirm the cause of death, the prevailing concern has been over the fact that this daycare was unlicensed and had been operating without a license for 14 years.

Placing an infant in daycare is one of the hardest things we do as working parents.  That is why it is imperative to make sure your child is safe in daycare and in a nurturing environment.  Just as important, if not more important, is ensuring that the daycare provider is licensed.

Most states have governmental agencies that oversee the licensing of daycare providers.  In North Carolina the Division of Child Development (NCDCD) oversees childcare providers.  Whether a daycare center or an in-home daycare.  Part of the licensure entails yearly inspections and investigations of complaints.  Oftentimes the NCDCD will conduct unannounced visits to ensure that the provider is maintaining the highest level of care.

The North Carolina Division of Child Development maintains a website (http://ncchildcaresearch.dhhs.state.nc.us) which you can use to confirm that a childcare provider you are considering is licensed.  This website also has information about any complaints made about the daycare and whether those complaints were substantiated.  Further, the NCCDC also provides copies of all inspections and complaint investigations, free of charge to the public, which can be requested through the website. Use these resources to help ensure your child is safe in daycare.

Admittedly, daycare injuries can occur in both licensed and unlicensed facilities. However, a license to operate a daycare signifies that the provider is adhering to strict safety guidelines.  Therefore, the likelihood of an injury occurring is significantly lower than at a non-licensed facility.  Aside from operational safety standards the NCDCD also requires background checks for all personnel who work or live at the daycare facility.  These background checks ensure that no one working with your children or who come in contact with your children have a criminal past which could potentially place your children in danger.

The cause of baby Karl’s death at the New York City unlicensed daycare may ultimately turn out to be from natural causes.  Nevertheless, as parents we must do what we can to ensure that our child is safe in daycare while we head off for work.  Start by confirming your daycare provider of choice is licensed.

 

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