Finding Safe & Trusted Home Daycares

In-home daycare, also known as family daycare, offers a nurturing environment that can meet the unique needs of families just like yours. As with any child care option, parents often ask: Are home daycares safe? The answer is yes if the provider meets several criteria.

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How Do You Know If a Home Daycare Is Safe?

You’ve found a safe home daycare if the program:
  • Meets the required qualifications and has the required certifications

  • Has relevant experience, strong references, and great reviews from other parents

  • Is clearly committed to safety and security

  • Communicates well, frequently, and transparently

  • Offers personalized care and attention in a positive, nurturing environment


Required Qualifications and Certifications

Just as with commercial daycare centers, in-home daycare providers are subject to rigorous state licensing and training requirements. Wonderschool supports ongoing training for in-home providers, so you know you’re choosing a family daycare center with qualified caregivers in a healthy environment.

How Qualifications Impact the Quality of Care
Do Home Daycares Have to Be Licensed?

Experience, References, and Reviews

Top-quality in-home providers have ample child care experience and a philosophy that aligns with your personal parenting approach. There are some things to keep in mind when determining whether an in-home provider fits the criteria for your family’s unique needs.

Evaluating Provider Quality

A multi-pronged approach is a good idea when assessing the quality of an in-home provider.

  • To be certain a provider checks your boxes, seek input from families who have previously gotten child care from the provider. Ask other parents in your community for references and suggestions.

  • When you can’t turn to your personal network, online reviews can fill in the gaps. Check independent websites for reviews to get the scoop from other families on the pros and cons of local in-home providers.

  • Social media is another great resource for evaluating in-home daycare safety. You can look at an in-home daycare’s social profiles and check the comments or join a local parenting group where you can ask questions.

Reading the Right Reviews

Not every review holds the same weight. If you want to properly vet a provider, timely reviews should be the highest priority.

  • Older reviews can be misleading, especially if there have been any changes in staff since the review was posted.

  • Daycare programs are innovating their activity plans all the time. Recent comments and reviews reflect what you can expect once your child is enrolled.

  • It’s a good sign if you see a provider responding to recent reviews, especially if parents are bringing up concerns in their feedback. If you see a thoughtful response, that shows the provider’s commitment to transparency.

Catching Red Flags

Understanding the difference between a one-off complaint and regularly poor conduct is essential for screening in-home providers.

  • Do you see common themes emerging in reviews with lower ratings? When you see multiple grievances — for instance, about child care facility cleanliness — that should raise an alarm.

  • Is a negative review about a disagreement in child care philosophies or something more serious? Reviews that highlight actual risks to children’s safety, whether physical or emotional, are warnings you should always heed.

  • Do other families feel heard by their in-home providers? If other parents frequently mention that a provider isn’t listening or otherwise communicating poorly, that’s a sign to steer clear.


Commitment to Safety: Understanding a Provider's Safety and Security Protocols

What Makes an In-Home Daycare Safe?

Keeping kids safe takes a good deal of maintenance and standard practices, both daily and long-term.

  • Good sanitation practices are essential to preventing germs from spreading among children, even in smaller groups. In addition to regularly disinfecting high-touch surfaces, handwashing rules should exist for both providers and children.

  • Kids need safe spaces to play and explore. In-home daycare centers should include nap areas with soft surfaces, plenty of toys, and a comfortable space for alone time. 

  • Outdoor play is great for your child’s development. Your child should be able to play in the fresh air while staying secure. Many in-home daycares with outside space have fenced-in areas for this reason.

  • Bedding areas should demonstrate that providers follow safe sleep practices at naptime. Cribs should be free from toys or other objects that can present hazards.

  • Tears here and there are normal for children, but you want to send your child to a happy environment each day. Smiles on the faces of providers and children indicate a joyful atmosphere.

Emergency Preparation

In-home daycare centers should have detailed protocols for emergencies, including evacuation plans and guidelines for contacting families. Providers should also have plenty of water, food, and first-aid supplies on hand in case the unexpected requires sheltering in place.

Other Security Protocols

In-home providers should only allow approved visitors on-premises for approved reasons that they record. They should also require all visitors to sign in and out when they arrive and leave.


Communication and Transparency

Trusting your child care provider starts with fostering open and honest communication. Your provider should be eager to answer your questions about any aspects of your child’s care.

Regular Updates

In-home caregivers should keep you in the loop about your child’s daycare routine and daily activities.

  • Newsletters or other regular communication methods should be in place for recurring updates on daily activities for all children.

  • In-home providers should also be clear on their preferred communication methods for discussing your child’s individual progress. If any concerns need to be addressed, a good provider will work with you on an action plan.

  • The more opportunities there are for parental involvement — such as volunteering — the more chances you have to see what your child experiences each day.

  • In-home providers should have protocols in place to make communicating a change in pick-up or drop-off easy for you and your family. Both you and the provider should also take necessary safety precautions to ensure your child goes home with someone you know and trust.

Professionalism and Reliability

Actions speak louder than words, and your in-home providers should demonstrate this in how they conduct themselves.

  • You’re more likely to build trust with in-home providers who show a consistently professional demeanor.

  • Working parents need reliable child care during the same time frames every day. Just as you’re expected to be on time for drop-off and pick-up, in-home providers should also be punctual.

  • On a similar note, in-home child care providers should respond to your communications in a timely manner.

  • Conflict resolution and tactful communication are key skills for child care providers. They should be able to demonstrate professionalism in any disagreement, whether amid conflicts between children or while offering different viewpoints to concerned parents.


Personalized Care and Attention

Individualized care is one of family daycare’s greatest benefits. You’ll know your child is getting ample personal attention if you can prove that the provider:

  • Meets your state’s legally required staff-to-child ratios. Wonderschool makes finding this information in your initial search a breeze

  • Is happy to discuss opportunities for you to observe a typical day at the facility.

  • Makes discipline guidelines easily available on request and remains open to discussion if you have questions.


Additional Considerations

Adaptability to Special Needs

Accessibility should be a priority. If your child needs accommodations, the right in-home daycare provider will be happy to discuss how they can meet your needs. You can always message providers on Wonderschool to ask about specific needs.

Ongoing Improvement

There’s always room to be better. Talk to potential providers about how frequently they update their policies and facilities.


Choosing a Safe and Trustworthy In-Home Daycare

With more personalized care and a home-like environment, family daycare can help your child thrive long after their enrollment ends. State regulations ensure that in-home daycares live up to basic standards of safety. When you know what else to look for, such as communication styles and child care philosophies, you can easily find a great provider.

Wonderschool is here to help you find that perfect fit. In addition to strict licensing and training standards, the providers you can find through Wonderschool are committed to creating nurturing environments. Search for family daycare based on your location, budget, child care approach, or all of the above. Wonderschool has what you need to find a family daycare where you feel safe and secure about your child’s care.

Find trusted in-home daycare