SELECTING A SAFE NURSERY SCHOOL
By Laurie Kobliska, Editor
STOCKTON DESK - Get an early start on your baby's intellectual development, but when it comes to nursery schools, take a close look at another important factor- you child's safety. There are many areas parents need to examine when considering a particular preschool for their offspring, notes Diane Kittredge, associate professor of pediatrics, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
She said, 'Perhaps the most important thing [they] can do is to make an unannounced visit to a prospective nursery school and check it out before they enroll their child. Parents should ask to see the playrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and playground.'
Kittredge offers a number of guidelines for those shopping for a preschool:
- Examine the building in which the school is housed to satisfy yourself that it is safe. It should have working smoke alarms, a posted emergency exit plan in the event of fire, and doors that are easily accessible for escape.
- If a wading or swimming pool is present, it should be fenced off and supervision of children provided at all times.
- Inside toys must be safe for the age of the child using them. Those under the age of three should not have access to playthings that have small parts which the child may be able to place in his or her mouth.
- If field trips are taken, safety belts should be provided for each child in the vehicle.
- The playground ought to be fenced and equipment ideally will have a soft surface under it that can absorb some of the impact of a fall. Good surfaces include sand, dirt, grass, or small pebbles.
- The seat of a swing should not be made of wood, which might knock out a child's teeth in the event he or she is hit in the face by it.
- The temperature of water coming from a hot water tap should be 125 Fahrenheit or less to prevent a burn.
- The kitchen should be clean and all personnel preparing food should have had a health check.
- Immunization records should be required for each child, and the nursery school should have a policy excluding those who are ill.
- The nursery school should have an urgent care policy in place and should require parents to sign an urgent care release form. Also, it should have a person on staff who knows CPR.