Choosing a Day Care Provider


Healthy Women

It's also time to begin planning for after the delivery. If you've decided to return to work after your maternity leave, it's time to arrange for day care. You have numerous options: center-based care, family-based care, hiring a nanny or an au pair. When considering day care, keep the following in mind:

  • Do you want a small, intimate family home or a professional day-care center? Both should meet licensing requirements in your state, but a family home situation may offer more individual attention and a more home-like atmosphere. However, it may be less dependable if the caregiver gets sick or takes vacation. The day-care center, which may provide more dependable care and have more resources for training and equipment, may have a high rate of caregiver turnover and a more "institutional feel." Make sure you spend time in each before making any decisions.
  • How much does it cost? After you pay for day care, commuting, taxes, work clothes, etc., is it economically feasible to continue working?
  • How far is the center from your work? If your child gets sick in the middle of the day, can you or your partner easily get to her?

When visiting day-care centers, the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends you ask the following questions:

  • What is the child-to-staff ratio? Make sure it meets state requirements. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends one staff person for three to five small children.
  • Are younger and older children separated?
  • What are the center's policies on discipline and other important issues? Ask for a copy.
  • How does the center care for sick children?
  • How is the staff trained? What is the staff turnover rate?
  • How does the center ensure safety of its building and playground?

© 2014. National Women's Health Resource Center, Inc. All rights reserved. All content provided in this guide is for information purposes only. Any information herein relating to specific medical conditions, preventive care and/or healthy lifestyles does not suggest individual diagnosis or treatment and is not a substitute for medical attention.

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