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Choose the Best Child Care

December 9th, 2014 | By: Nancy Ripton
From day care to nannies, here's how to find the best child care for your baby

In This Article

Choose the Best Child Care

Finding great child care should be easy, but many parents find themselves on long waiting lists or are traumatized by child care horror stories. Here's what you need to know when it comes to choosing the best child care for your baby:

How to Choose the Best Day Care

A day care center is a group-setting childcare facility, run part- or full-time. It pays to get on waiting lists early, but don't be discouraged by long lists. "People find other care, and lists can move faster than expected," says Linda Smith, executive director of National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA). Some things to consider:

  • a long wait list doesn't necessarily mean quality child care
  • a positive referral from a friend is also no guarantee-the onus is on you to do the research
  • NACCRRA has developed 38 indicators of quality (available at naccrra.org) to guide parents. "Having an official checklist often makes parents feel more at ease about asking the tough questions," says Smith. (In Canada, check out the Canadian Child Care Federation at cccf-fcsge.ca.)
  • licensing requirements vary – providers should, however, have a minimum of 40 hours of training covering topics such as: shaken baby syndrome, health and sanitation, SIDS, CPR, first aid and how to respond to misbehavior
  • an acceptable child to adult ratio is 3:1 for infants and 4:1 for young toddlers
  • day care often fits the traditional nine-to-five work style - some charge hefty penalties for late pickups
  • rates vary from about $600 to $1,200 (US) per month