Questions to ask before choosing an in-home day care in Illinois

Illinois has specific requirements for in-home childcare providers. A parent should not hesitate to address any suspicion of abuse or neglect.

Safety is one of the first concerns of parents in Wheaton, Illinois, when they choose a day care. To ensure that every child is protected, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services outlines the minimum requirements that in-home day cares must adhere to for the safety of their charges.

Who is allowed to be in the home with my child?

In addition to the caregiver, who must be over the age of 17, there may be an assistant present. Adults who live in the home and the caregiver's children may also be present. Background checks to identify incidents of child abuse, neglect or a criminal conviction should be performed on any resident of the home over the age of 13.

How is my child protected from hazards in the home?

Due to the many hazards that could injure a child, there are many specific requirements for in-home daycares. For example, although there must be a first-aid kit, it cannot be located within reach of a child. Similarly, the provider must keep other substances such as cleaners and medications in places that are not accessible.

Other prevention measures include preventing access to hot tubs or pools, and running water temperatures in sinks the children use cannot exceed 115 degrees. In addition, protective coverings are required on all electrical outlets, and any cords, including those on blinds or other window coverings, cannot be within reach of children.

Are guns allowed in a day care?

If there is a firearm in the home, the provider must let the parents know, and the gun and ammunition must be kept in separate locked storage containers that are not accessible to the child. Only a person who lives in the home and must have a handgun for work is allowed to bring one onto the premises.

Is the day care provider allowed to punish my child?

According to the Illinois Administrative Code, time-out, temporarily taking the child from the group, is the only form of discipline allowed in a daycare, and only for children at least two years old. There is no form of physical punishment that is acceptable.

Shaming, threatening or frightening the child or engaging in other forms of verbal abuse are prohibited, as well as any type of profanity.

A child should never be restricted from bathroom use or have food taken away because of any behavioral issue.

Child care providers should use positive reinforcement and clear communication about actions and consequences to direct the child.

What should I do if I suspect abuse or neglect?

In any situation where there is an indication of a violation of safety standards leading to child abuse or neglect, it is critical to contact law enforcement and IDCFS to prevent serious harm.

If a child sustains an injury at day care, a personal injury attorney may be able to help parents hold those who are responsible liable for the damages and prevent further incidents from occurring.